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Sample Resources
The following are examples of the high-quality, exciting resources that are a part of Seminars on Science. Most of them, from essays to videos, have been written and produced specifically for this course. All students receive a copy of their course resources on CD-ROM for use not only during the course itself, but also as a classroom resource.

Sample Essay - Week 4: Speciation in the Fossil Record
Sample essay

Dr. Niles Eldredge addresses the question of how evolutionary change takes place over time. Is it dependent on a new species splitting from an ancestral one, or can species evolve as single lineages?  How long does this process take?  Comparing the fossil record with the geologic record, Dr. Eldredge explains his ground-breaking theory of punctuated equilibria, where he surmises that evolution is not a slow gradual change but instead long periods of stasis, or biologic stability, interrupted by periods of intense, rapid evolutionary change.

Read the essay...


Sample Video - Week 1: Tree of Life (1:18)
Sample video

Cladograms, or tree-of-life diagrams, show the evolutionary relationships among species.  This video shows the different ways scientists have represented cladograms visually, from traditional line diagrams to circular diagrams to 3-D representations that can show the evolutionary relationships between thousands of species at one time.

Watch the video...


Sample Interactive - Week 5: Meet the Relatives
Interactive

Learn how humans are like—and unlike—Neanderthals (our closest extinct cousin) and chimpanzees (our closest living relative on the tree of life).  This simulation allows you to view three key biological features—the skull, pelvis, and foot—side by side and from any angle, as well as individually.  The Neanderthal skull used here is from the Museum’s 3-D digital scan of a complete skull specimen, the first available for viewing on the web.

Explore the interactive...


Also at the Museum Beyond Planet Earth

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