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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Resource library : What is evolution and how does it work?
History of life on Earth

Sub-topics (containing additional resources):

Human evolution 


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Evo in the news: Where did all of Madagascar's species come from?  Advanced
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.

Evo in the news: Oxygen as an evolutionary constraint
This news brief from November 2009 focuses on how changes in atmospheric chemistry may have factored into the evolution of life on Earth—specifically, life’s quadrillion-fold growth spurt from microscopic bacteria to organisms the size of the blue whale.

Understanding 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.

Evo 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.

Cells within cells: An extraordinary claim with extraordinary evidence  Advanced
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.

Evo in the News: Lessons for today in ancient mass extinctions  Advanced
This news brief, from May 2012, describes new research on the end-Ordovician mass extinction and the lessons we might glean about extinctions going on around us today.

¿De donde vienen todas las especies de Madagascar?  Advanced
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...

Evo 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.

Sub-topics (containing additional resources):

Human evolution