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Lesson summary for:
Evo in the News: Lessons for today in ancient mass extinctions

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Overview:
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.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
30 minutes

Teaching tips:
This article includes a video podcast, a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class, as well as advanced discussion questions for undergraduates. It also includes hints about related lessons that might be used in conjunction with this one. Get more tips for using Evo in the News articles in your classroom.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • During the course of evolution, only a small percentage of species have survived until today.

  • Mass extinctions occur.

  • Extinction can result from environmental change.

  • 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.

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations.

  • As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life, for example in agriculture, biodiversity and conservation biology, and medicine and health.

Teacher background:

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