This news brief from April 2010 describes what scientists have learned by extracting DNA from a polar bear fossil more than 100,000 years old. Though the fossil itself was just a fragment of the skeleton—the lower left portion of the jaw, still containing a tooth—the DNA had a lot to say about polar bear evolution.
UC Museum of Paleontology
This article encourages students to reason about scientific data. It includes a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class, as well as advanced discussion questions for undergraduates and a video podcast. It also includes hints about related lessons that might be used in conjunction with this one. Get more tips for using Evo in the News articles in your classroom.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.
- Geological change and biological evolution are linked.
- Rates of evolution vary.
- An organism’s features reflect its evolutionary history.
- The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
- Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.
- The geographic distribution of species often reflects how geologic change has influenced lineage splitting.
- Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.
- As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life, for example in agriculture, biodiversity and conservation biology, and medicine and health.