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In this comic, you'll follow the investigation of scientists Maria and Miguel as they solve a paleontological mystery. About 11,000 years ago, more than 80% of the large animal species in South America went extinct. Why did it happen? (Available in English and Spanish)
UC Museum of Paleontology
This comic includes a glossary and comprehension questions for classroom discussion or an independent assignment.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Life forms of the past were in some ways very different from living forms of today, but in other ways very similar. (LS4.A)
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- Mass extinctions occur.
- The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
- The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.
- The fossil record documents patterns of extinction and the appearance of new forms.
- There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)
- 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.
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)
- Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)
- Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.
- Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.
- Scientists use physical, chemical, and geological evidence to establish the age of fossils.
- Scientists use the geographic distribution of fossils and living things to learn about the history of life.
- As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life.
- Extinction can result from environmental change.
- Radiometric dating can often be used to determine the age of rock layers and, hence, the fossils embedded in them.