Curriculum/Education Article

Evolution: Education and Outreach

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 310-314

First online:

Transforming Our Thinking about Transitional Forms

  • Louise S. MeadAffiliated withNational Center for Science Education Email author 

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A common misconception of evolutionary biology is that it involves a search for “missing links” in the history of life. Relying on this misconception, antievolutionists present the supposed absence of transitional forms from the fossil record as evidence against evolution. Students of biology need to understand that evolution is a branching process, paleontologists do not expect to find “missing links,” and evolutionary research uses independent lines of evidence to test hypotheses and make conclusions about the history of life. Teachers can facilitate such learning by incorporating cladistics and tree-thinking into the curriculum and using evograms to focus on important evolutionary transitions.


Macroevolution Transitional features Creationism Tree-thinking Cladistics Evograms