DNA Similarity and the Analogy to Grading

Evolution Journals

Imagine you are the teacher grading evolution journals. All of the journals are for the same journal question. You, of course, made clear to the students that they are to work separately, and that they are not to copy each other's work. As you start reading, you realize that 10 consecutive words were identical between two of the journals.

1) What might this suggest? Would you be 100% sure?

2) What if 30 consecutive words were the same?

As you read more closely, you realize that all the punctuation marks, grammar mistakes and spelling errors also match exactly. In fact, 98% of papers are exactly alike.

3) Would this new realization make you more certain? Why or why not?

4) Let’s pretend that the 98% similarity is not in journal entries, but rather, the DNA between 2 different species of organisms. How might the similarity in DNA be evidence in evolution?

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