Understanding Evolution: your one-stop source for information on evolution
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"Big History" is the currently active effort to bring together in a unified way all of the information about the past, both humanistic and scientific. One of the problems for anyone teaching Earth history or Big History is how to help students or anyone to comprehend the time scales. This series of graphic panels helps address this challenge by presenting Big History in a sequence of time scales.

The ChronoZoom Team

Grade level:

1-6 hours

Teaching tips:
This resource is best suited for those teaching specialized undergraduate or graduate level courses in Big History or Earth History.

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

  • Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time.

  • Through billions of years of evolution, life forms have continued to diversify in a branching pattern, from single-celled ancestors to the diversity of life on Earth today.

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.

  • Life on Earth 3.8 billion years ago consisted of one-celled organisms similar to present-day bacteria.

  • There is evidence of eukaryotes in the fossil record from about one billion years ago; some were the precursors of multicellular organisms.

  • Geological change and biological evolution are linked.

  • Tectonic plate movement has affected the evolution and distribution of living things.

  • Living things have had a major influence on the composition of the atmosphere and on the surface of the planet.

  • Mass extinctions occur.

  • Extinction can result from environmental change.

Teacher background:

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