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Lesson summary for:
Solving the Mystery of the Neandertals

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Overview:
This interactive web activity lets students compare the number of mutations in the mitochondrial genomes of Neandertals, humans, and chimps to determine ancestry and relatedness.

Author/Source:
Dolan DNA Learning Center

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
20-30 minutes

Teaching tips:
To access this activity, click on media/animation at the top of the screen and then select "Solving the Mystery of the Neandertals." This activity requires Shockwave or Flash Player.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.

  • The fossil record documents patterns of extinction and the appearance of new forms.

  • All life forms use the same basic DNA building blocks. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.

  • Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.

Teacher background:

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