Evolution & Genetics for Secondary School - Reptile Encounters


How do species change over time? Sometimes they become so different they get reclassified as a new species, so what’s happening there? Discover how adaptations through genetic mutations and natural selection allow such unique biodiversity in Australia. Students can learn about speciation, convergent and divergent evolution, all while observing evidence of these in our awe-inspiring animals.


Learn about evolutionary trees through these impressive animals…

Cheryl - Spiny-leaf Stick Insect

Females can reproduce via parthenogenesis, resulting in offspring that are genetic clones of the mother.

Sabrina - Brush-tail Bettong

Embryonic diapause is a reproductive strategy of marsupials, enabling them to keep an embryo “on hold” until conditions are right.

Harriet - Barn Owl

Owls are more closely related to hummingbirds genetically than they are to other birds of prey.

Russell - Shingleback Lizard

Shingleback Lizards are monogamous, and will not mate with anyone that is too closely related.

Frankie - Central Bearded Dragon

Central Bearded Dragons are popular as pets, and artificial selection in captivity has resulted in a variety of colour morphs and scale types.

Vicky - Victorian Carpet Python

Carpet Pythons are wide-spread across Australia, and exhibit a wide of colours and sizes, subspecies can cross breed in the wild and in captivity.

Tiny - Olive Python

Evolution has favoured the Olive Python to grow to large sizes and consume large prey.

Neville - Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodiles lay large clutches of eggs, but only the strongest few will make it adulthood and be able to successfully reproduce themselves.


Curriculum Focus

Phylogenetic trees 

Evidence of evolution 


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Classroom Resources

Evolution by Natural Selection

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