Today was the first day of our “Evolutionary Tree Project.” Students put together a blank copy of a phylogenetic tree, cut it out, taped it together, and added it to their binder. Then they added ten “transition species.” These are species that, while perhaps they are no longer living, were part of an evolutionary transition from one species to another. These included moss, ferns, archaeopteryx, and even the eel-like conodronts. They cut out each transition species card, folded it, and glued it onto their tree. You can see an example of the finished product above. It wasn’t perfect. For example, whales are in the wrong spot, and there are lots of species missing from our tree. But still, it provides a good snapshot of how evolution has shaped the history of life on Earth.