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Darwin used the words "extreme imperfection" to describe the gappy nature of the fossil record - but is this really such a problem? This article delves into the topic of transitional fossils and explores what we have learned about them since Darwin's time.
This article appears at SpringerLink.
Evolution: Education and Outreach
This article is written for teachers and comes with links to additional examples, supplementary information, and classroom tips. It is also available as a pdf at http://www.springerlink.com/content/934652024q2677m1/fulltext.pdf
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
- The fossil record contains organisms with transitional features.
- There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.
- Evolution does not consist of progress in any particular direction.
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)
- 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.