Individual Project

Individual Project. Individual Project

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to use cladograms from the textbook, scholarly websites, primary literature, and your accumulated knowledge of the evolutionary relationships of Animals, as a guide to reconstruct an accurate cladogram of 15 Animal species. You will also analyze musculoskeletal system diversity within Animals.

Skills: This assignment will help you practice the skills required by professionals, including:

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路 Practice synthesizing, comparing & contrasting, and presenting information in summative charts/tables.

路 Practice using models (cladograms, in this case) to organize new information, and to create visual representations of that information.

路 Searching for and identifying relevant peer-reviewed literature to help you construct your cladogram, and citing it using APA style.


路 Observe 15 Animal species in or around Seattle. You can do this in a variety of ways: If you don’t mind paying, you may visit the Seattle Aquarium or Woodland Park Zoo. If you would rather not pay, then you may visit the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, for free, on the first Thursday of any month. If you want to make it really fun, find 15 species on your own: there are dozens of visible bird species alone in Seattle public parks, and Arthropods of all variety. If you choose this latter method, the Map of Life is a valuable tool for accurately identifying animal species.

路 Accurately identify each species, noting both common and scientific name on your cladogram. Use current, published cladograms or phylogenetic trees (taken from your book, the following websites, or recent, peer-reviewed research papers) as guides to reconstruct an accurate cladogram ( without polytomies ) of the animals you observed (15 points).

路 Map the evolution of each musculoskeletal system onto your cladogram, indicating which type of system each of your species possesses (10 points).

路 Cite all references that you used to reconstruct your tree in a Works Cited section; two useful websites you may want to use and cite are: Burke Museum , UCMP Berkeley .

路 Create a table that compares and contrasts the anatomy, functions, and mechanisms of action of each of the three types of musculoskeletal systems found in Animals, regardless of whether all three appear in your Animal species.


路 Accurate cladogram of 15 species labeled with both common and scientific name.

路 Evolution of each type of endoskeleton mapped onto your cladogram and identification of which type of skeleton each species possesses.

路 A summative table that compares and contrasts each of the three major types of musculoskeletal systems (whether or not all three are represented in your species) in the following categories:

路 Materials that comprise the structure of each type of skeleton.

路 Primary functions of each type of skeleton.

路 Muscle attachment sites, if any.

路 Mechanism of action of each musculoskeletal system.

路 Advantages and Disadvantages of each type of skeleton.

Individual Project

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