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Anole Lizards: An Example of Speciation

The anole lizards of the Caribbean islands represent a group of about 150 closely related species, most of which evolved within the past 50 million years from a single colonizing species. Different processes, including geographic isolation, adaptation to different environments, and reproductive isolation, play a role in anole speciation. 

Supporting Materials (5)

Classroom Resource
This activity supports the film The Origin of Species: Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree. Students are asked to formulate a hypothesis, and collect and analyze real research data to understand how quickly natural selection can act on a population.  
Virtual Lab
The Lizard Evolution Virtual Lab was developed by a team of scientists, educators, graphic artists, and film makers to explore the evolution of the anole lizards in the Caribbean.
Classroom Resource
This activity supports the film The Origin of Species: Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree. Students are guided to sort the lizard species by appearance, then generate a phylogenetic tree using the lizards’ DNA sequences to evaluate whether species that appear similar are closely related to each other.
Film Guides
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Origin of Species: Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree. Research on the anole lizards is enriching our understanding of evolutionary processes, such as adaptation by natural selection, convergent evolution, and the formation of new species.
Short Film
In the Caribbean islands, adaptation to several common habitats has led to a large adaptive radiation with interesting examples of convergent evolution.

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