From Chordates to Mammals: Exploring the Tree of Life
After you reach the chordate branch on the animal Tree-of-Life, where to next? This set of branching diagrams continues the story. The diagrams show phylogenies, aka evolutionary tree diagrams, for organisms that are currently living. They take the branches out from chordates to mammal orders and beyond for four of the major orders. Once children have become familiar with these lineages of life, they will have a greater appreciation of the diversity of mammals and of our place in the living world.
This set consists of 13 letter-sized pages of branching diagrams, 13 pages of blank branches, 102 text cards for children, and an 18-page booklet for teachers. The latter includes a lesson to introduce children to the branches of mammals and suggestions for children’s learning activities to follow.
If you print two copies of the complete branching diagrams, you can leave one whole to use in lessons and cut one apart for labels and pictures to place on the blank branches.
Available as a print-it-yourself file
The thirteen diagrams show phylogenies (cladograms) for extant members of the following: chordates; bony vertebrates; mammals (the first branches); marsupial orders; eutherians (image shown); Afrotheria; Xenarthra; Euarchontoglires; Laurasiatheria; Order Rodentia; Order Primates; Order Carnivora; and Order Cetartiodactyla. Each diagram has text cards that describe the lineage or organisms and give derived traits, examples of members, the meaning of the name, and the sister lineage.
A sample text card:
You can lay out the cards and connect the branches with red yarn to show the big picture of mammals. The image below shows the thirteen pages of diagrams connected with red lines that show the placement of the yarn.