Evolution resources

Last updated June 15, 2017

*New* MinuteEarth video: How Humans Made Malaria So Deadly https://youtu.be/64pvlCtH-Oo

Brief descriptions of the 5 biggest mass extinctions, with striking photos of fossils https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/big-five-extinctions

2-min video/comic strip (PhD comics) about Cuvier, mass extinctions, & origin of paleontology http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1889 

Tree of life figure from Hug et al. 2016 Nature Microbiology doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.48


MinuteEarth video: Which Fish Did We Evolve from? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2ojuZ_s4z8

MinuteEarth video: How many mass extinctions have there been? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO9mOAKXvJs 

Nova’s Evolution Lab has a game that wonderfully illustrates phylogenetic tree construction, from the simplest training exercise to more complex exercises, for everyone from high school students to college biology majors.  Great companion to the Great Clade Race.

HHMI BioInteractive: The Origin of Species has 3 parts:

  • The Making of a Theory – 30 min video on Darwin and Wallace
  • The Beak of the Finch – 15 min video on the Grants’ work
  • Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree – 15 min video on Caribbean Anoles lizards

All 3 segments have good ancillary classroom materials. The Finch and Lizards segments also have datasets, on finch beak measurements and lizard DNA sequences, for analysis by students.

Minute Earth a new (as of March 2013) YouTube channel like Minute Physics, but about the history of our planet

The One that Got Away YouTube video by Minute Earth on the effect of fishing regulations that result in harvesting only larger fish. Result is selection for fish that reproduce earlier, and grow more slowly, with dramatic effects. Also listed in the Ecology Resources page

A story of evolution caused by human intervention: an alewive population lake-bound for 350 years by a dam is now joined by their seagoing cousins – a case study for evolution and speciation http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/opinion/an-evolutionary-family-drama.html?_r=0

How did feathers evolve? Carl Zimmer’s TED-Ed video, 3 1/2 minutes.

Evolution animation by Tyler Rhodes, produced from drawings made by children copying a drawing of a salamander-like animal with successive generations of variation, mass extinction and selection. The process is described in this Scientific American blog post http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/psi-vid/2012/02/29/an-evolution-animation-unlike-any-youve-seen-before/ and Tyler Rhodes blog http://evolutionanimation.wordpress.com/ describes both the drawing “game” and his animation process. His “wheel of life” is an amazing phylogenetic tree of the drawings.

Dating rocks and fossils using geologic methods excellent explainer, part of Nature Education series at SciTable.

Newly found: the world’s oldest fossils A post in the Why Evolution Is True blog by Jerry Coyne, explaining the paper by Wacey, D.,M. R. Kilburn, M. Saudners, J. Cliff, and M. D. Brasier.  2011.  Microfossils of sulphur-metabolizing cells in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks of Western Australia.  Nature Geoscience online: doi:10.1038/ngeo1238

Darryl Cunningham Investigates: Evolution A lucid, inviting comic-strip presentation of basic evolutionary theory and evidence. Aimed at beginning learners.

Brief History of Life by David Knuffke on Prezi – cool Prezi (interactive slide animation).

Evolution Made Simple BBC Bang illustrates evolution beginning with a simple straight line, and replication with errors leads rapidly to diversification.

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution Dobzhansky’s 1973 essay in The American Biology Teacher 35:125-129, just as relevant today as then, and I have yet to read a better explanation.

Microbial Evolution ASM Colloquium 2011 report: “What would Darwin have made of the microbial world?”


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