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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Found 42 resources for the concept: Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry

imageUnderstanding Macroevolution Through Evograms
Evograms convey information about how a group of organisms and their particular features evolved. This article explains how to read evograms and delves into the evolutionary history of whales, tetrapods, mammals, birds, and humans.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageThe Missing Link
The setting for this case study is a paleontological dig in East Africa, where an undergraduate student has unearthed part of what appears to be an ancestral human skull. Students read the story and then examine a number of primate skulls. They are asked to build a phylogeny based on their observations.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Strasser, M. Elizabeth

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageChromosome Comparison 2: Comparison of Human and Chimp Chromosomes
Students observe that the banding patterns seen on stained chromosomes from humans and chimpanzees show striking similarities. Possible evolutionary relationships are explored, as are the chromosomes and relationships of other apes.

Audience: 13-16

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Lab activity

imageChimpanzee Droppings Lead Scientists to Evolutionary Discovery
Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) is thought to be a precursor to HIV. This multi-part case study explores changes in SIV in different chimpanzee populations and how researchers use this information to test hypotheses about the origins of HIV.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Kosal, Erica F.

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageAn antipodal mystery
The discovery of the platypus had the scientific world in an uproar with its mammal-like and bird-like features. How was one to classify the platypus? This case study uses this issue to model the scientific process, with scientists arguing, debating, collecting more evidence, and revising their opinions as new data become available.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Herreid, Clyde Freeman

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEvo in the news: A species' unwelcome inheritance - extinction risk
Even as the world loses species at an unprecedented rate, conservationists are struggling to save them. But where should they focus their efforts? This news brief from September 2009 describes new research suggesting that evolutionary history is an important factor in determining which species are at the gravest risk of extinction.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: One small fossil, one giant step for polar bear evolution
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.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Where did all of Madagascar's species come from?
Recently, political unrest in Madagascar has threatened to set back the island's expanding conservation efforts, and criminals have taken advantage of the instability, looting protected forests for rare wood. This news story from October 2009 turns back the clock to consider the biogeographic processes that made Madagascar into a biodiversity hotspot in the first place.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: A fish of a different color
This news brief, from February 2006, describes how a mutated zebrafish gene may help us understand human evolution and the genes underlying human skin color. Humans and zebrafish both inherited the same pigmentation gene from their common ancestor.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: What has the head of a crocodile and the gills of a fish?
This news brief, from May 2006, reviews what is likely to be the most important fossil find of the year: Tiktaalik helps us understand how our own ancestors crawled out of the water and began to walk on dry land.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Seeing the tree for the twigs
Recent research has revealed that, in at least some ways, chimpanzees have evolved more than humans have. This news brief from May 2007 delves into this finding further and, in the process, debunks common misperceptions of human evolution.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: When it comes to evolution, headlines often get it wrong
Newly discovered fossils are prompting some scientists to consider a minor revision of the relationships shown on the human family tree. This news brief from September 2007 clarifies the occasionally misleading news coverage of the story.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: The new shrew that's not
This news brief from March of 2008 describes scientists' discovery of a new mammal species, a giant elephant shrew. Though elephant shrews resemble regular shrews, recent genetic evidence suggests that elephant shrews actually sprang from a much older (and perhaps more charismatic) branch of the tree of life - the one belonging to elephants and their relatives.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Happy 200th, Darwin!
This news brief, from February 2009, celebrates Darwin's bicentennial by examining what we've learned about the evolution of the Galapagos finches since Darwin's time.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Tough conservation choices? Ask evolution
The earth is facing a biodiversity crisis. Nearly 50% of animal and plant species could disappear within our lifetime. To stem this rapid loss of biodiversity, we'll need to act quickly — but where should we begin? This news brief, from December 2008, explains how evolutionary history can help us set conservation priorities.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Making sense of ancient hominin DNA
In March 2010 German researchers announced that they had managed to extract DNA from the 40,000 year old fossil bone from a child discovered in a Siberian cave and that it didn't match up to the known genetic sequences of either humans or Neanderthals! This news brief examines the evidence in more detail and considers what that evidence might — or might not — mean about such claims.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageClassification and Evolution
Students construct an evolutionary tree of imaginary animals (Caminalcules) to illustrate how modern classification schemes attempt to reflect evolutionary history.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Gendron, Robert

Resource type: Lab activity

imageInvestigating Common Descent: Formulating Explanations and Models
Students formulate explanations and models that simulate structural and biochemical data as they investigate the misconception that humans evolved from apes.

Audience: 13-16

Source: National Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageThe genes that lie beneath: The work of Leslea Hlusko
Evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko's research takes her from the deserts of Ethiopia, where she hunts for hominid and primate fossils, to a baboon colony in San Antonio where she takes thousands of measurements of the primates' imposing canines. This research profile describes how the two projects are linked by a hunt for genetic variation, a key component of natural selection.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageIt takes teamwork: How endosymbiosis changed life on Earth
You might be surprised to learn that descendents of an ancient bacterium are living in every cell of your body! Find out how endosymbiosis factored into the evolution of your own cells and learn about a modern example of this process.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageEvolution connection: The Krebs Cycle
This short slide set explains the uniformity of the Krebs cycle across all life using evolutionary theory. Save the slide set to your computer to view the explanation and notes that go along with each slide.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo Connection slide set

imageA name by any other tree
Phylogenetics has affected almost every area of biology - even the most basic one: how we classify organisms. Find out how phylogenetic classification works and what its advantages are.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

imageDarwin's "extreme" imperfection?
Darwin used the words "extreme imperfection" to describe the gappy nature of the fossil record - but is this really such a problem? This article delves into the topic of transitional fossils and explores what we have learned about them since Darwin's time.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

imageUnderstanding evolutionary trees
Many disciplines within biology (and many basic biology texts) have come to depend on evolutionary trees. Get the basics you need to understand and interpret these key diagrams.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

imageEvo in the news: An antibiotic that exploits evolutionary history
In October 2011, the World Health Organization announced that tuberculosis cases are on the decline for the first time in at least 20 years. Our battle against this ancient disease has been fought, in part, through the use of antibiotics like streptomycin. This news brief describes the 1.8 billion year evolutionary history behind these drugs.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: The evidence lines up in early mammal evolution
This news brief, from September 2011, describes the discovery of a new mammal species that highlights just how long mammals have been around. Back in the Jurassic, dinosaurs may have dominated terrestrial ecosystems, but they were not alone. Scurrying around their feet and clinging to the trees above them were the fuzzy ancestors of their successors.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageWebcast: Fossils, genes, and embryos
In lecture three of a four part series, evolutionary biologist David Kingsley examines the original objections to Darwin's theory and shows how modern evidence supports the theory.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video Lecture

imageCells within cells: An extraordinary claim with extraordinary evidence
When biologist Lynn Margulis revived the strange-sounding idea that the merging of cells played a prominent role in the evolution of complex life, the scientific community roundly rejected the notion. Today, this idea is accepted as a textbook fact. Learn more about the evidence and social factors that spurred the acceptance of this key aspect of evolutionary theory.
This article is available from the Understanding Science website.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Understanding Science

Resource type: Article

imageEvolutionary trees from the tabloids and beyond
This article describes practical applications of phylogenetics, focusing on intriguing cases ripe for deployment in classrooms — like using phylogenetics to investigate crimes.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

imageHow are humans related to other primates?
In this two-part laboratory students analyze skull morphology and DNA sequences among primate species to answer one of the most meaningful questions in biology: How are humans related to other animals?

Audience: 13-16

Source: Kalinowski, Steven

Resource type: Lab activity

imageTree thinking basics
Tree thinking, or phylogenetics, is an important way of understanding evolutionary relationships. Reading trees correctly can pose some challenges. This video introduces the basics of three reading and addresses common problems in tree reading.
This resource is available from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Audience: 13-16

Source: National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Resource type: Video

image¿Decisiones de conservación difíciles? Pregúntale a la evolución
¿Si tu casa se incendiara, que es lo que te llevarías cuando estés huyendo? La decisión puede ser difícil entre juguetes de niños, álbumes de fotos y documentos importantes compitiendo por tu atención. Desafortunadamente, nos enfrentamos con una decisión difícil cuando tenemos que definir nuestros esfuerzos de conservación. Las actividades humanas podrían estar desencadenado la sexta extinción masiva de la Tierra...

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

image¡Feliz cumpleaños número 200, Darwin!
Este 12 de febrero se cumplirían 200 años del nacimiento de Charles Darwin, y todo el mundo esta invitado a la fiesta. Numerosos grupos alrededor del mundo — desde niños en las escuelas primarias, hasta museos e iglesias — celebraran la ciencia de la evolución con conferencias públicas, clases, obras teatrales, exhibiciones artísticas y muchísimas galletas con forma de tortugas. 'Evolución en las noticias' de este mes contribuye a la celebración mediante la revisión de un tema cercano y querido por Darwin: los pinzones de Galápagos...

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageLa herencia inoportuna de una especie: riesgo de extinción
El tema de septiembre, biodiversidad y conservación, en celebración del Año de la Ciencia, la historia de este mes esta basada en el enemigo de la diversidad: la extinción. El mundo se enfrenta a lo que podría ser la sexta extinción masiva. Estamos perdiendo especies a un ritmo sin precedentes — 100 a 1000 veces más alto que a lo largo de la mayor parte de la historia de la tierra...

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

image¿De donde vienen todas las especies de Madagascar?
Continuando la celebración del tema de Octubre en el Año de la Ciencia, las ciencias de la tierra y el planeta Tierra, la historia de este mes se centra en cómo la geografía y la geología han moldeado la evolución de la vida en uno de los lugares más singulares de la Tierra. Madagascar, la cuarta isla más grande del mundo, se encuentra en el Océano índico a varios cientos de kilómetros de la costa sureste de áfrica y constituye el hogar de una notable variedad de especies vegetales y animales, incluido el aye aye, la fossa, el camaleón y el árbol baobab...

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvolution connection: Mitochondria and plastids
This short slide set describes how many characteristics of mitochondria and plastids are explained by their endosymbiotic origins. Save the slide set to your computer to view the explanation and notes that go along with each slide.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo Connection slide set

imageEvolution connection: Ribosomes
This short slide set explains how some antibiotics target the bacterial ribosome and don't attack the ribosomes in our own cells through a quirk of evolutionary history. Save the slide set to your computer to view the explanation and notes that go along with each slide.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo Connection slide set

imageEvo in the news: No more mystery meat
This news brief from April 2013 describes new research on the origin of American cattle breeds. The story told by the cows' genes crisscrosses the trajectory of human evolutionary history — from wild aurochs that lived alongside Neanderthals, to Christopher Columbus and, ultimately, the American West …

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: A new old animal
A new species of velvet worm was recently discovered in Vietnam. This news brief from September 2013 describes the key position of velvet worms in evolutionary history and how they help us better understand the fossil record of the Cambrian period.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageRadiations and extinctions: Biodiversity through the ages
This excerpted chapter from Carl Zimmer's book, The Tangled Bank, describes the evolutionary processes responsible for large scale patterns in the diversity of life through time. Reprinted with the permission of Roberts and Company Publishers, Inc.
This resource is available from the National Center for Science Education.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Zimmer, Carl

Resource type: Article

imageTree of Life
This interactive web resource allows you to follow any branch on the tree of life to find out how scientists hypothesize all the species on Earth (plus some extinct lineages) are related to one another.
This resource appears at the Tree of Life website.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Tree of Life

Resource type: Interactive

imageUnderstanding evolutionary history: An introduction to tree thinking
This pamphlet with self-quizzes provides students with a self-paced tutorial in tree thinking and corrects many common misconceptions about phylogenetic trees.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Laura Novick, Kefyn Catley, and Emily Schreiber

Resource type: Tutorial

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