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Lesson summary for:
Lines of evidence: The science of evolution

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Overview:
The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by scientists — and for good reason! Learn about the diverse and numerous lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
30-40 minutes

Teaching tips:
Class discussion could enhance student learning on this topic.

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

  • There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit. (LS4.C)

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.

  • The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.

  • The fossil record contains organisms with transitional features.

  • There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.

  • Similarities among existing organisms provide evidence for evolution. (LS4.A)

  • Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry. (LS4.A)

  • There are similarities in the cell function of all organisms. (LS4.A)

  • Artificial selection provides a model for natural selection.

  • People selectively breed domesticated plants and animals to produce offspring with preferred characteristics.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)

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

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)

  • Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use anatomical evidence to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

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

  • Scientists use physical, chemical, and geological evidence to establish the age of fossils.

  • Scientists use the geographic distribution of fossils and living things to learn about the history of life.

  • Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.

  • Scientists use artificial selection as a model to learn about natural selection. (P2)

Teacher background:

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