Is it a Snake? Convergent Evolution in Reptiles and Amphibians


Thursday, February 24, 2022, 8:30am to 2:30pm


Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Close up of a coral snake.

The slender, scaly, legless form of snakes is familiar to all, but not everything that looks like a snake is really a snake. Through convergent evolution, many other distantly related animals have arrived at remarkably similar forms. Why are there so many snake look-alikes? How can we know what is a snake and what is a fake? You will explore these questions through observations of preserved specimens drawn from the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology Herpetology Collection. After looking for traits that separate snakes from other legless animals, you will investigate the process through which snakes and their look-alikes have evolved similar forms. This lesson is suitable for middle and high school students.


Advance registration required. $50 deposit will be refunded upon completion of the workshop.


You will receive:

  • Free workshop

  • Breakfast and lunch each day

  • Free parking

  • $100 stipend upon completion of the workshop

  • Two-year family museum membership, and six family passes for your students

  • PDP certificate (Massachusetts requires at least 10 PDPs for any award. If you take both workshops you will earn 10 PDPs. For teachers who participated in workshops with us over the past year, we can add 5 PDPs per workshop to your existing points.)


Harvard University regulations require that all participants wear masks indoors and show proof of vaccination or a recent negative PCR COVID Test (within 72 hours). Workshop group size will be limited to allow for social distancing. See our website for full COVID-19 safety protocols.