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  • Young Students Recognize a Transitional Fossil

    Young Students Recognize a Transitional Fossil

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    (4 min 44 sec) Neil Shubin brought the fossil of Tiktaalik to his daughter’s first grade class to see what the students would make of it.

  • Stratigraphic Principles

    Stratigraphic Principles

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    (2 min 21 sec) Dr. John Shea demonstrates the two main principles in the study of rock layers: superposition and association.

  • Classifying Stone Tools

    Classifying Stone Tools

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    (3 min 4 sec) Prehistoric stone tools are classified into six broad technological modes by the level of sophistication and method of fabrication.

  • Rift Valleys of Africa and Plate Tectonics

    Rift Valleys of Africa and Plate Tectonics

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    (2 min 14 sec) African rift valleys were formed by the separation of tectonic plates. Water flows down to the valley floors, creating rivers and lakes.

  • Hardening Fragile Fossils for Extraction

    Hardening Fragile Fossils for Extraction

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    (19 sec) Due to the delicate nature of fossils, a hardening chemical is dripped onto every fossil before it is removed from the soil.

  • The Delicate Process of Excavating and Cleaning Fossils

    The Delicate Process of Excavating and Cleaning Fossils

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    (1 min 27 sec) Fossils are extremely fragile. Scientists remove them in a protective layer of plaster and clean sand away one grain at a time.

  • Floods Supply Sediments for Fossil Formation

    Floods Supply Sediments for Fossil Formation

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    (2 min 42 sec) The floor of a rift valley is prone to periodic floods that carry in fine silt--the sedimentary matter responsible for fossil formation.

  • Making Stone Tools by Flintknapping

    Making Stone Tools by Flintknapping

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    (1 min 23 sec) Stone tools similar to those found at prehistoric archaeological sites can be made by fracturing rocks, a technique known as flintknapping.

  • Dung Beetles and their Fossilized Evidence

    Dung Beetles and their Fossilized Evidence

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    (39 sec) Fossilized dung beetle balls are part of a comprehensive fossil collection project to reconstruct the habitat of Ardipithecus ramidus.

  • Stickleback Environment

    Stickleback Environment

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    (1 min 27 sec) At the end of the ice age, the retreating ice sheet created many new lakes, some of which were colonized by sticklebacks.

  • Fossil Record of Stickleback Evolution

    Fossil Record of Stickleback Evolution

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    (2 min 34 sec) A quarry site in Nevada carries the evolutionary history of a population of stickleback fish that resided there when it was a freshwater lake.