Meet the EvoBugs!
Scientists have an exciting announcement: Deep in the woods, they’ve discovered an entirely new type of animal! The scientists nicknamed them “EvoBugs," as each species of EvoBug they discover has evolved to be well suited to its environment. (Of course, "EvoBug" is just a pretend animal, but you'll have some fun learning anyway!)
EvoBugs live in this environment. So far, the scientists have discovered 8 different species of EvoBug. Each species of EvoBug has traits, which are features that make them unique. Most EvoBugs are covered in spikes to protect them from predators, but a few have smooth, slimy skin. Some EvoBugs have sharp teeth, some have wings, and they seem to be all sorts of different colors!
In order to study the EvoBugs properly, the scientists want to figure out how the EvoBug species are related to each other. To do this, they can make something called a cladogram - a chart that shows the relationships between groups of living things. Cladograms have three parts - “clades” (the groups scientists are trying to sort), “traits” (the features each group has), and “nodes” (the place where one group splits from another).
By studying the traits of each group of EvoBugs, scientists can figure out how the groups are related to each other. How? Some EvoBugs share the same traits!
Let’s look at just one trait - spikes. 6 out of the 8 EvoBug species have spikes, so we can split them into 2 smaller groups: 1 group that has spikes, and 1 group that doesn’t. The spike group still has 6 species, but because they share a trait, we know the species in that group are more closely related to each other than they are to species in the group without spikes.
Adding more traits means we can sort groups even further, until all the EvoBug species are sorted.
Sort the EvoBugs!
- Print out the EvoBug activity sheet.
- Cut out the EvoBugs from page 1.
- Sort the EvoBugs into the correct spots on the cladogram on page 1.
- Check your answers on page 2.
- The traits each EvoBug has helps them survive in their environment. What are the traits?
- Make a list: How could the traits of each EvoBug species help that species survive?