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Lesson summary for:
A Strange Fish Indeed: The "Discovery" of a Living Fossil

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Overview:
Through a series of fictionalized diary entries, this case recounts the 1939 discovery by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer (and identification by J.L.B. Smith) of a living coelacanth, a fish believed to have been extinct for 70 million years.

Author/Source:
Grant, Robert

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
50-90 min.

Teaching tips:
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topic of the nature and process of science (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus).

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time.

  • There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.

  • Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.

  • Random factors can affect the survival of individuals and of populations.

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

  • Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.

  • Classification is based on evolutionary relationships.

Teacher background:

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