UC Berkeley Professor Anthony Barnosky gives the inside scoop on how climate change has affected past speciation of mammals and how it may affect biodiversity in the future.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.
The concepts in this interview can be further emphasized through class discussion. Also, this article might provide a good jumping off point for a more detailed investigation of the evolutionary history of mammals.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Rates of extinction vary.
- Speciation is the splitting of one ancestral lineage into two or more descendent lineages.
- Occupying new environments can provide new selection pressures and new opportunities, leading to speciation. (LS4.C)
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)
- Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.
- As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life.