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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Resource library : What is evolution and how does it work?


It takes teamwork: How endosymbiosis changed life on Earth  Advanced
You might be surprised to learn that descendents of an ancient bacterium are living in every cell of your body! Find out how endosymbiosis factored into the evolution of your own cells and learn about a modern example of this process.

Evolution at different scales: Micro to macro
Microevolution and macroevolution encompass change at very different scales, but both work through the same basic processes.

Macroevolution: The basics
Explore the processes behind major radiations and extinctions and other grand patterns in the history of life.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Deep Time
This interactive timeline covers 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history, highlighting important events in the areas of geology, biodiversity, and extinction.
This resource appears at PBS’s Evolution website.

Tree of Life
This interactive web resource allows you to follow any branch on the tree of life to find out how scientists hypothesize all the species on Earth (plus some extinct lineages) are related to one another.
This resource appears at the Tree of Life website.

Interactive investigation: The arthropod story  Great for students
This interactive investigation delves into the amazing world of the arthropods and examines their success and their evolutionary constraints.

Webcast: Selection in action  Advanced
In lecture two of a four part series, evolutionary biologist David Kingsley discusses how just a few small genetic changes can have a big effect on morphology, using examples from maize, dog breeding, and stickleback fish.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Webcast: Fossils, genes, and embryos  Advanced
In lecture three of a four part series, evolutionary biologist David Kingsley examines the original objections to Darwin's theory and shows how modern evidence supports the theory.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Interview: Anthony Barnosky on climate change and mammal evolution
UC Berkeley Professor Anthony Barnosky gives the inside scoop on how climate change has affected past speciation of mammals and how it may affect biodiversity in the future.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Evo in the news: Where species come from
Lush tropical ecosystems house many times more species than temperate or Arctic regions. This news brief from November 2006 discusses the evolutionary explanation for this diversity trend and reveals why threats to tropical ecosystems may threaten diversity on a global scale.

Interview: Nicole King on the origins of multicellularity  Advanced
Biologist and UC Berkeley Professor Nicole King explains how she investigates a major transition in evolutionary history: the evolution of multicellular life forms from unicellular ones.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

How to survive a mass extinction: The work of David Jablonski
Through detailed analysis of patterns in the fossil record, scientist David Jablonski reconstructs the rules that helped dictate who lived and died in past mass extinctions. This research profile describes his surprising discoveries and their disturbing implications for the biodiversity crisis today.

Parsimonious explanations for punctuated patterns
Punctuated equilibrium is sometimes erroneously cited as evidence that evolutionary biology still hasn't figured out how evolution works. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Punctuated equilibrium builds on (not tears down!) established evolutionary theory. Find out how the process works.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Darwin's "extreme" imperfection?
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.

Radiations and extinctions: Biodiversity through the ages
This excerpted chapter from Carl Zimmer’s book, The Tangled Bank, describes the evolutionary processes responsible for large scale patterns in the diversity of life through time. Reprinted with the permission of Roberts and Company Publishers, Inc.
This resource is available from the National Center for Science Education.

Evo in the news: Oxygen as an evolutionary constraint
This news brief from November 2009 focuses on how changes in atmospheric chemistry may have factored into the evolution of life on Earth—specifically, life’s quadrillion-fold growth spurt from microscopic bacteria to organisms the size of the blue whale.

Understanding Macroevolution Through Evograms
Evograms convey information about how a group of organisms and their particular features evolved. This article explains how to read evograms and delves into the evolutionary history of whales, tetrapods, mammals, birds, and humans.

Why the eye?  Advanced
Eyes are something of an icon of evolution. How did such an integrated, multi-part adaptation evolve? While many different animals have complex eyes, untangling their evolutionary history reveals both remarkable diversity and surprising similarity.

Evo in the News: Lessons for today in ancient mass extinctions  Advanced
This news brief, from May 2012, describes new research on the end-Ordovician mass extinction and the lessons we might glean about extinctions going on around us today.

Evo in the News: What comes after mass extinctions?  Advanced
This news brief, from September 2012, describes the aftermath of mass extinctions--what happens to surviving species in the wake of a massive extinction event.