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History of life on Earth

Sub-topics (containing additional resources):

Human evolution 


From soup to cells - The origin of life  Advanced
Delve into our current understandings of the origins of life and how scientists are able to investigate the details of such ancient events.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Deep Time
This interactive timeline covers 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history, highlighting important events in the areas of geology, biodiversity, and extinction.
This resource appears at PBS’s Evolution website.

Evolution and the fossil record
Evolution is a fundamental concept in modern biology. Review the basics of how evolution works with a special focus on evidence and examples from the fossil record.
This article appears at the American Geological Institute website.

Ancient fossils and modern climate change: The work of Jennifer McElwain
Wondering how global warming will affect our planet? Scientist Jennifer McElwain studies the fossil record in order to learn more about how global warming has affected life on Earth in the past and how it might affect life on Earth in the future.

Interactive investigation: The arthropod story  Great for students
This interactive investigation delves into the amazing world of the arthropods and examines their success and their evolutionary constraints.

How to survive a mass extinction: The work of David Jablonski
Through detailed analysis of patterns in the fossil record, scientist David Jablonski reconstructs the rules that helped dictate who lived and died in past mass extinctions. This research profile describes his surprising discoveries and their disturbing implications for the biodiversity crisis today.

Evo in the news: More than morphology
This news brief, from August 2006, describes recent research on T. rex, with a special focus on how paleontologists move beyond the shape of the animal's bones to learn about aspects of its life that don't fossilize very well: its physiology, sensory abilities, and population dynamics.

Evo 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.

Evo in the news: Where species come from
Lush tropical ecosystems house many times more species than temperate or Arctic regions. This news brief from November 2006 discusses the evolutionary explanation for this diversity trend and reveals why threats to tropical ecosystems may threaten diversity on a global scale.

Paleontology Portal
This set of web resources includes explorations of famous fossil assemblages, a searchable set of fossil images, and a tool allowing you to map the ages of rocks in your own state and view corresponding fossils.
This resource appears at PaleoPortal.org.

Tree 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.

Sub-topics (containing additional resources):

Human evolution