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Welcome to

This site is designed to be a resource for teachers, students, and researchers who are interested in tree thinking. It contains materials for teaching and learning about evolutionary relationships and the use of phylogenies in biological problem solving. Many of the files are stored locally but there are also annotated links to many things housed elsewhere. The site is currently undergoing some revisions to make it easier to use and more interactive. If you would like to receive an e-mail when the site is upgraded, suggest a resource to include, or make a comment please send me an e-mail. <>

A Brief Introduction to Tree Thinking

Featured resource

EVOLUTION: The Tree-Thinking Challenge

Published in Science 310 (5750) pp. 979-980.

Summary from publisher:
Phylogenetic trees are widely used to study the relationships among living species and genes. In their Perspective, Baum et al. discuss how it has become apparent that trees are commonly misunderstood, leading to confusion about the concept of common ancestry. Although challenging, tree thinking should be taught as an element of evolution training at all levels.

Two tree-thinking quizzes were published as supplemental materials to this paper.

Archive of previously featured resources

About the tree thinking group

The Tree Thinking Group is a loose association of people, including researchers, teachers and students, who are interested in teaching and learning evolutionary biology effectively. There are, of course, many groups that are interested in improving evolution education and you can find out about some of them on our resource pages. What makes this effort stand out somewhat is our focus on tree thinking — that is, the use of a phylogenetic perspective for making sense of biology. We are just getting started but you can browse some of the products that are currently available and under development. This site is currently being coordinated by Sam Donovan at the University of Pittsburgh and you should feel free to contact him if you have questions, comments, suggestions, or you would like to get updates on the project.

Site developments

November, 2005 - Preparing major overhaul

June, 2005 - Major content updates

November 10 - Public debut of Tree Thinking Group site, ver. 1.0.

August 25 - Search function moved to a separate page. Added new links, and made links more uniform in appearance.

July 15/17 - Overhaul of pages upgrade to ver. 0.5, along with typo fixes and other minor corrections. New search function added and functional. Please feel free to use it. Send comments or bug reports to the web manager.

June 1 - Links section had a major revamp. Almost in "complete" working order.

May 27, 2004 - Preliminary launch, ver. 0.1. Everything barring the Links section should be working. Still gathering links and working the bugs out. These bugs are nothing like cicadas, and should be fixed soon.


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University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.