Posts Tagged ‘evolution’
We love Thanksgiving! The stuffing, green beans and pumpkin pie… mmmmm. But the traditional main course is of course… dinosaur.
“What!?!?” you say! Well watch this video from Nat Geo that describes how the turkey on your dinner table evolved from theropod dinosaurs.
Celebrate this historic anniversary of one of the most important books of all time by reading select passages of “On the Origin of Species” on the New York Times online.
One of my favorite bands of all time, They Might Be Giants, has just come out with a new album dedicated to covering science called Here comes Science. It is a great album and the first rock album that I have ever heard of that required fact checking.
The album features two songs for those who love dinosaurs and are into evolution:
- “I am a Paleontologist”
- “My Brother the Ape”
I say this is a must buy for kids and adults who love Science and fun music.
Below is the video for “I am a Paleontologist.” Enjoy!
The National Science Teacher Association has published a book called Virus and the Whale: Exploring Evolution in Creatures Small and Large. It is an activity book about Evolution for grades 5-8. This book could be a great resource for teachers and parents to help their kids explore the science of evolution. It can be purchased from the NSTA website in book or electronic form here.
Below is the official description of the book:
With this lively book of activities as their guide, students can follow seven scientists into their labs and out to the field to discover how evolution works. Meanwhile, you’ll benefit from the practical help the book provides with the twin challenges of evolution: what to teach and how to teach it.
For students, Virus and the Whale brings to light some of today’s most exciting and up-to-date research through the stories of scientists who study evolution. Each featured research project highlights an important aspect of evolutionary biology, from the “arms race” between viruses and their human hosts to the long-term evolutionary changes that can turn a land mammal into a whale. The activities lead students to investigate evolution as they try out the kinds of creative thinking skills real scientists use to make new discoveries.
For teachers, three preliminary chapters explain how to use the scientists’ stories as a logical framework for teaching evolutionary concepts. These chapters provide accurate natural history background; offer additional information on the evolution of each of the seven organisms investigated in the book; and introduce common ways in which children and adults think and learn about evolution. Each activity lists learning outcomes tied to the National Science Education Standards and includes assessment questions and materials lists.
Virus and the Whale combines a dynamic narrative with easy-to-use activities, clear illustrations, and a welcome dose of humor.
Evolutionary Biologist, Richard Dawkins, gives us a quick explanation of whale evolution at the Explore Evolution exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum.
It is hard for those who love science to go onto the web or read a paper and not see something about Ida “The Missing Link”. Ida is indeed remarkable as one of the best preserved and earliest primate fossils we have. But some in the scientific community are weary of the hype. Although Ida is indeed a transitional form between Lemur-like creatures and more modern primates it is not entirely certain that we humans are a direct descendant.
A copy of the fossil is on display as part of the American Museum of Natural History’s “Extreme Mammals” exhibit.
The New York Times has a good general article about the discovery here.
One of my favorite podcasts is BBC4′s In Our Time. The host Melvyn Bragg covers all sorts of interesting topics from science to history and philosophy with a panel of experts. This week he discusses the evolution of whales with three scientists working in the area of genetics and mamalian paleonotlogy. They describe the newest fossil evidence and also go into how scientists are using the DNA of modern animals to learn how we are all related. This fascinating piece also happens to mention on of our favorite creatures – Pakicetus!
Right click link and select “Save target as…” to download and listen to The Whale: A History.
Subscribe to the In Our Time podcast here.
The folks at Charlie’s Playhouse have done an amazing thing and produced an in depth list of 89 books about Evolution for kids. It has reviews and descriptions and most importantly lists what ages the books are appropriate for. They also share their 12 favorites.
The Vanikoro White Eye is a newly discovered species of bird, found on the tiny island of Ranongga. Genetic analysis of the White Eye birds of the Solomon Islands shows that there are 13 different species, some on islands as close as 2km apart. There are over 100 species of White Eyes around the world.
Rob Moyle from the University of Kansas said, “As we started to compile the data, we were shocked…White-eye species from across the family’s range had strikingly similar gene sequences, indicating a recent origin and incredibly rapid diversification.” Due to the its rapid capacity for diversification, some call White Eyes the Great Speciator. DNA analysis of many White Eyes species showed that they can generate about 2-3 new species every million years.
Popular Science has a channel on YouTube where they do a series on “The Science of YouTube”. This video explains the evolutionary basis for our love of cute animals like the ones that seem to be in popular videos online.