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Lesson summary for:
Evo in the news: The evidence lines up in early mammal evolution

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Overview:
This news brief, from September 2011, describes the discovery of a new mammal species that highlights just how long mammals have been around. Back in the Jurassic, dinosaurs may have dominated terrestrial ecosystems, but they were not alone. Scurrying around their feet and clinging to the trees above them were the fuzzy ancestors of their successors.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
15 minutes

Teaching tips:
This article includes a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class. 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.

  • Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time. (LS4.A, LS4.D)

  • 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 documents the biodiversity of the past.

  • The fossil record contains organisms with transitional features.

  • The fossil record documents patterns of extinction and the appearance of new forms.

  • 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.

  • Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations. (P7)

Teacher background:

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