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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Lesson summary for:
Evo in the news: What has the head of a crocodile and the gills of a fish?

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Overview:
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.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
15 minutes

Teaching tips:
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topic of animals (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus). This article could be used to motivate discussions of transitional forms and fossil evidence. It also includes a set of discussion and extension questions, as well as links to 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.

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

  • Life forms of the past were in some ways very different from living forms of today, but in other ways very similar.

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

  • The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.

  • Features sometimes acquire new functions through natural selection.

  • The fossil record contains organisms with transitional features.

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.

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

  • The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.

  • Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.

  • Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.

Teacher background:

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