Mammalian organogenesis in deep time: tools for teaching and outreach
Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra and Ingmar WerneburgEmail author
Evolution: Education and Outreach20169:11
DOI: 10.1186/s12052-016-0062-y© The Author(s) 2016
Received: 9 July 2016Accepted: 20 November 2016Published: 1 December 2016
Mammals constitute a rich subject of study on evolution and development and provide model organisms for experimental investigations. They can serve to illustrate how ontogeny and phylogeny can be studied together and how the reconstruction of ancestors of our own evolutionary lineage can be approached. Likewise, mammals can be used to promote 'tree thinking' and can provide an organismal appreciation of evolutionary changes. This subject is suitable for the classroom and to the public at large given the interest and familiarity of people with mammals and their closest relatives. We present a simple exercise in which embryonic development is presented as a transformative process that can be observed, compared, and analyzed. In addition, we provide and discuss a freely available animation on organogenesis and life history evolution in mammals. An evolutionary tree can be the best tool to order and understand those transformations for different species. A simple exercise introduces the subject of changes in developmental timing or heterochrony and its importance in evolution. The developmental perspective is relevant in teaching and outreach efforts for the understanding of evolutionary theory today.
Development Ontogeny Embryology Phylogeny Heterochrony Recapitulation Placentalia Human
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