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Here Be Dragons: Using Dragons as Models for Phylogenetic Analysis

Dragons are a staple of fantasy literature, and various aspects of the creatures (most notably their anatomy) have been explored scientifically across different forms of media. Their distinct anatomical characteristics and the variations therein among the recognized “species” of dragons make the tax... Full description

Journal Title: The American biology teacher 2017, Vol.79 (7), p.544-551
Main Author: Cruz, Ronald Allan L
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Quelle: Alma/SFX Local Collection
Publisher: Reston: University of California Press
ID: ISSN: 0002-7685
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recordid: cdi_proquest_journals_1970979340
title: Here Be Dragons: Using Dragons as Models for Phylogenetic Analysis
format: Article
creator:
  • Cruz, Ronald Allan L
subjects:
  • Adaptation (Biology)
  • Biology
  • characters
  • Computer programs
  • Dragons
  • evolution
  • Games
  • INQUIRY & INVESTIGATION
  • INQUIRY & INVESTIGATIONS
  • Models
  • parsimony
  • Phylogenetic trees
  • Phylogenetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Religion
  • Science fiction & fantasy
  • Software
  • Study and teaching
  • Systematics
  • Taxa
  • Usage
ispartof: The American biology teacher, 2017, Vol.79 (7), p.544-551
description: Dragons are a staple of fantasy literature, and various aspects of the creatures (most notably their anatomy) have been explored scientifically across different forms of media. Their distinct anatomical characteristics and the variations therein among the recognized “species” of dragons make the taxa appropriate models for basic phylogenetic analysis in an undergraduate general biology or systematics class. The wyvern, an obviously more primitive, distant cousin of the “true” dragons, is also an appropriate outgroup for these estimations of shared evolutionary history. Separating metallic from chromatic dragons, the generated tree shows relationships among the species that are consistent with their separation in the Dungeons & Dragons games according to alignment, scale color, and religion, three characters that are not used in the analysis. Manual construction of a character matrix and cladogram of dragons followed by repetition of this process via conventional computer software allows the students to track their progress not only in terms of understanding such concepts as choice of character states and parsimony but also in terms of the applicability of said software.
language: eng
source: Alma/SFX Local Collection
identifier: ISSN: 0002-7685
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0002-7685
  • 1938-4211
url: Link


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descriptionDragons are a staple of fantasy literature, and various aspects of the creatures (most notably their anatomy) have been explored scientifically across different forms of media. Their distinct anatomical characteristics and the variations therein among the recognized “species” of dragons make the taxa appropriate models for basic phylogenetic analysis in an undergraduate general biology or systematics class. The wyvern, an obviously more primitive, distant cousin of the “true” dragons, is also an appropriate outgroup for these estimations of shared evolutionary history. Separating metallic from chromatic dragons, the generated tree shows relationships among the species that are consistent with their separation in the Dungeons & Dragons games according to alignment, scale color, and religion, three characters that are not used in the analysis. Manual construction of a character matrix and cladogram of dragons followed by repetition of this process via conventional computer software allows the students to track their progress not only in terms of understanding such concepts as choice of character states and parsimony but also in terms of the applicability of said software.
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subjectAdaptation (Biology) ; Biology ; characters ; Computer programs ; Dragons ; evolution ; Games ; INQUIRY & INVESTIGATION ; INQUIRY & INVESTIGATIONS ; Models ; parsimony ; Phylogenetic trees ; Phylogenetics ; Phylogeny ; Religion ; Science fiction & fantasy ; Software ; Study and teaching ; Systematics ; Taxa ; Usage
ispartofThe American biology teacher, 2017, Vol.79 (7), p.544-551
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02017 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints.
12017 National Association of Biology Teachers
2Copyright University of California Press Sep 2017
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abstractDragons are a staple of fantasy literature, and various aspects of the creatures (most notably their anatomy) have been explored scientifically across different forms of media. Their distinct anatomical characteristics and the variations therein among the recognized “species” of dragons make the taxa appropriate models for basic phylogenetic analysis in an undergraduate general biology or systematics class. The wyvern, an obviously more primitive, distant cousin of the “true” dragons, is also an appropriate outgroup for these estimations of shared evolutionary history. Separating metallic from chromatic dragons, the generated tree shows relationships among the species that are consistent with their separation in the Dungeons & Dragons games according to alignment, scale color, and religion, three characters that are not used in the analysis. Manual construction of a character matrix and cladogram of dragons followed by repetition of this process via conventional computer software allows the students to track their progress not only in terms of understanding such concepts as choice of character states and parsimony but also in terms of the applicability of said software.
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