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School activities: Evolutionary tree of mammals


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This unit provides an introduction to the evolution of mammals.

We will be considering Darwin's observations on a great many mammals, and how he noticed that species fell into natural groups. We take as an example the evolution of one particularly interesting mammal, the whale, and look at evidence both from fossils and from DNA to see which other mammals are most closely related to whales. We see how the evidence from these two very different sources points to the same relationship and that this therefore provides overwhelming evidence that the conclusions must be correct.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Darwin and evolution (S170) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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