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  • Mimicry in a Diverse Community of Arthropods

    Mimicry in a Diverse Community of Arthropods

    Data Point

    Researchers exposed arthropod mimics that use a golden patch to warn of unpalatability to predators with different prey preferences to determine how effective their warnings were.

  • Who Am I?

    Who Am I?

    Image of the Week

    The caterpillar of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly (Papilio trollus) mimics the rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus).

  • Teeth of the Skin

    Teeth of the Skin

    Image of the Week

    The head of a newly-hatched catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) imaged using 3D X-ray microscopy.

  • Written in Chalk

    Written in Chalk

    Image of the Week

    The world’s chalk deposits are made of fossilized remains of the shells of tiny microscopic algae.

  • Moth Mimicry: Using Ultrasound to Avoid Bats

    Moth Mimicry: Using Ultrasound to Avoid Bats

    Scientists at Work

    (10 min 24 sec) This video follows scientists as they uncover the ways in which moth species in Gorongosa National Park use ultrasound to avoid being eaten by bats.

  • Stickleback Film with Quiz

    Stickleback Film with Quiz

    Interactive Video

    (15 min 27 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch a short film that explains how stickleback fish let scientists study evolution in action, identify key genes, and peer deep into the evolutionary past.

  • Slug Power

    Slug Power

    Image of the Week

    The sea slug, Elysia crispata belongs to a group called the sacoglossans—mostly herbivores that feed, mate and lay eggs on algae.  

  • Origin of Humans with Quiz

    Origin of Humans with Quiz

    Interactive Video

    (19 min 44 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch a short film on the major human fossil finds from Africa  and what they reveal about the history of our evolutionary origins.

  • Origin of Birds With Quiz

    Origin of Birds With Quiz

    Interactive Video

    (18 min 59 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch a short film about the evidence that showed birds descended from dinosaurs.

  • New Year Bash

    New Year Bash

    Image of the Week

    Some mantis shrimps, for example, Odontodactylus sp., can smash open prey, such as snails and crabs, using powerful specialized limbs.

  • The Origin of Flight: What Use is Half a Wing?

    The Origin of Flight: What Use is Half a Wing?

    Scientists at Work

    (8 min 16 sec) Biologist Ken Dial's study of how young birds use their developing wings sheds light on the evolution of flight in birds.

  • Natural Selection and the Evolution of Darwin's Finches

    Natural Selection and the Evolution of Darwin's Finches

    Activity

    This lesson is aligned with the NGSS science practices of engaging in argument from evidence using mathematical and computational thinking and analyzing and interpreting data.

  • Effects of Natural Selection on Finch Beak Size

    Effects of Natural Selection on Finch Beak Size

    Data Point

    Rosemary and Peter Grant studied the change in beak depths of finches on the island of Daphne Major in the Galápagos Islands after a drought.

  • The Making of the Fittest

    The Making of the Fittest

    Collection

    Each film takes students on an adventure—from the postglacial lakes in southern Alaska to the deserts of the American Southwest, and from the icy Antarctic to the highlands of East Africa,...

  • The Origin of Species

    The Origin of Species

    Collection

    Our planet has millions of species, including thousands of mammals, fish, birds, and reptiles, and even more butterflies, beetles, and other animals, each adapted to one of an enormous variety of...

  • Great Transitions

    Great Transitions

    Collection

    Stunning fossil finds have revealed the fascinating stories of major transitions in the history of life on our planet—from fish that gained the land, to reptiles that took to the air, and...

  • Film Guide: Your Inner Fish

    Film Guide: Your Inner Fish

    Film Guide

    This guide complements the three-part television series Your Inner Fish. This series describes the legacy of our ancient animal ancestors and the evidence of their relationship to us.

  • Episode 3: Your Inner Monkey

    Episode 3: Your Inner Monkey

    Feature Film

    (54 min 51 sec) Join Neil Shubin as he links our hands, vision, and brains to ancient primate ancestors. PLEASE N​OTE: Due to international distribution restrictions, these programs can only be streamed in the United States and Canada.

  • Episode 2: Your Inner Reptile

    Episode 2: Your Inner Reptile

    Feature Film

    (54 min 41 sec) Join Neil Shubin as he links our hair, teeth and hearing to ancient reptilian ancestors. PLEASE N​OTE: Due to international distribution restrictions, these programs can only be streamed in the United States and Canada.

  • Episode 1: Your Inner Fish

    Episode 1: Your Inner Fish

    Feature Film

    (54 min 41 sec) See how the genetic legacy of a fish can be seen today in our own DNA. PLEASE N​OTE: Due to international distribution restrictions, these programs can only be streamed in the United States and Canada.

  • The Art of Hiding

    The Art of Hiding

    Image of the Week

    Animal mimics evolved markings that make them look either like other animals or inanimate objects.

  • Icefish Film with Quiz

    Icefish Film with Quiz

    Interactive Video

    (13 min 14 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch the short film on the icefish—an example of how genes are reused and recycled.

  • Great Transitions: The Origin of Birds

    Great Transitions: The Origin of Birds

    Short Film

    (18 min 59 sec) In the second film of the Great Transitions trilogy, paleontologist Julia Clarke takes us on a journey to uncover the evidence that birds descended from dinosaurs. Also available in Spanish.

  • Pocket Mouse Film With Quiz

    Pocket Mouse Film With Quiz

    Interactive Video

    (10 min 29 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch the short film on the rock pocket mouse—a living example of Darwin’s process of natural selection. Also available in Spanish.

  • Lizard Evolution Virtual Lab App

    Lizard Evolution Virtual Lab App

    Apps and eBooks

    The Lizard Evolution Virtual Lab app lets you explore the evolution of the anole lizards in the Caribbean on your iOS device.

  • Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans

    Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans

    Short Film

    (19 min 44 sec) Which traits distinguish humans from other primates? When and where did these traits evolve? Analysis of the major fossil finds from Africa, dating back to 4.4 million years ago, provides answers to these questions and reveals the history of our evolutionary origins. Also available in Spanish.

  • Vertebrate Circulatorium

    Vertebrate Circulatorium

    Click & Learn

    Compare and contrast the anatomy of the heart and the circulatory systems of major vertebrate groups and gain insights into their evolution.

  • Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab App

    Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab App

    Apps and eBooks

    App version of the popular virtual lab, introducing you to the science and techniques used to analyze the threespine stickleback fish.

  • Milk—How Sweet Is It?

    Milk—How Sweet Is It?

    Activity

    In this lab, students test different samples to see which ones contain the lactase enzyme. Also available in Spanish.

  • A Flower That Fits the Bill

    A Flower That Fits the Bill

    Image of the Week

    The bill of the buff-tailed sicklebill hummingbird is perfectly shaped to collect nectar from deep within the Centropogon flower.

  • Great Transitions Interactive

    Great Transitions Interactive

    Click & Learn

    The fossils of transitional creatures were key evidence for Darwin’s evolutionary theory, but none had been found when he published On the Origin of Species. Now, there are many examples of such fossils, which clearly show that big evolutionary leaps consist of many smaller steps.

  • Young Students Recognize a Transitional Fossil

    Young Students Recognize a Transitional Fossil

    Clip

    (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.

  • It's a Fishapod!

    It's a Fishapod!

    Article

    This article by Sean B. Carroll tells the story of the search for and discovery of Tiktaalik, an animal with a mix of fish and tetrapod features—a fishapod! It supplements the short film Great Transitions: The Origin of Tetrapods, starring Neil Shubin.

  • Film Guides: The Origin of Tetrapods

    Film Guides: The Origin of Tetrapods

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement Great Transitions: The Origin of Tetrapods, which tells the story of the discovery of Tiktaalik, a creature with features common to fish and four-legged animals, or tetrapods.

  • Great Transitions: The Origin of Tetrapods

    Great Transitions: The Origin of Tetrapods

    Short Film

    (17 min 11 sec) One of the most exciting discoveries in the long history of fossil exploration is Tiktaalik, a creature with a mix of features common to fish and four-legged animals, or tetrapods.

  • Anole Lizards: An Example of Speciation

    Anole Lizards: An Example of Speciation

    Animation

    (2 min 38 sec) This animation features the anole lizards as an example of how a single species can split and multiply into many different species with distinct traits.

  • Lactose Intolerance: Fact or Fiction

    Lactose Intolerance: Fact or Fiction

    Activity

    Students evaluate and discuss several statements about lactose intolerance and evolution before and after watching the film. Also available in Spanish.

  • Modeling the Regulatory Switches of the Pitx1 Gene in Stickleback Fish

    Modeling the Regulatory Switches of the Pitx1 Gene in Stickleback Fish

    Activity

    A hands-on activity in which students interpret molecular diagrams and build physical models of eukaryotic gene regulation.

  • Film Guides: Evolving Switches, Evolving Bodies

    Film Guides: Evolving Switches, Evolving Bodies

    Film Guide

    These classroom-ready resources complement the short film Evolving Switches, Evolving Bodies, which tells the story of the dramatic transformation of stickleback fish as they adapted to living in freshwater habitats drastically different from the ocean.

  • Teacher Guide: AP Biology

    Teacher Guide: AP Biology

    Teacher Guide

    This guide correlates all the resources available on the Holiday Lectures on Science DVDs and throughout the BioInteractive.org website to specific Big Ideas, Enduring Understandings, and Essential Knowledge threads of the new AP® Biology Curriculum Framework. 

  • Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab

    Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab

    Virtual Lab

    This virtual lab teaches skills of data collection and analysis to study evolutionary processes using stickleback fish and fossil specimens.

  • The Making of the Fittest: Evolving Switches, Evolving Bodies

    The Making of the Fittest: Evolving Switches, Evolving Bodies

    Short Film

    (15 min 27 sec) After the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago, populations of marine stickleback fish became stranded in freshwater lakes dotted throughout the Northern Hemisphere in places like Alaska and British Columbia. These fish have adapted to a freshwater environment drastically different than the ocean.

  • Weighing the Evidence for a Mass Extinction—On Land

    Weighing the Evidence for a Mass Extinction—On Land

    Activity

    A lesson in which students analyze graphs and data on pollen grains and fern spores to form a picture of the living landscape before and after the K-T mass extinction.

  • Foraminifera—Earth's Microscopic Recordkeepers

    Foraminifera—Earth's Microscopic Recordkeepers

    Poster

    A poster from the 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science, Changing Planet: Past, Present, Future. It details the importance of foraminifera, known as "forams" for short, in discovering significant changes in Earth's past. 

  • Weighing the Evidence for a Mass Extinction—In the Ocean

    Weighing the Evidence for a Mass Extinction—In the Ocean

    Activity

    A hands-on activity in which students see first-hand the difference in foraminifera fossils below and above the K-T boundary. Also available in Spanish.

  • Film Guides: The Day the Mesozoic Died

    Film Guides: The Day the Mesozoic Died

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement The Day the Mesozoic Died, which tells the story of the extraordinary detective work that led to the stunning discovery that an asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of animals, plants and even microorganisms.

  • The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes

    The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes

    Short Film

    (13 min 10 sec) Scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.

  • The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation

    The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation

    Short Film

    (10 min 25 sec) The rock pocket mouse is a living example of Darwin’s process of natural selection. Also available in Spanish.

  • How Novel Icefish Genes Can Improve Human Health

    How Novel Icefish Genes Can Improve Human Health

    Activity

    A lesson that requires students to read detailed scientific passages and explain how an understanding of specific icefish adaptations might lead to a treatment or cure for human disorders, such as osteoporosis and anemia. 

  • Demonstration: Viscosity of Icefish and Non-Icefish Blood

    Demonstration: Viscosity of Icefish and Non-Icefish Blood

    Activity

    A simple demonstration that uses readily-available materials to simulate how blood pumps through the circulatory system of icefish and other fish.

  • The Molecular Evolution of Gene Birth and Death

    The Molecular Evolution of Gene Birth and Death

    Activity

    An advanced lesson that describes the role of mutations in the birth and death of genes. It includes background information, examples, video clips, and animations.

  • Icefish Adaptations

    Icefish Adaptations

    Activity

    A simple activity that investigates the importance of antifreeze proteins to icefish survival.

  • Film Guides: The Birth and Death of Genes

    Film Guides: The Birth and Death of Genes

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes, which describes how scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.

  • Natural Selection and Evolution of Rock Pocket Mouse Populations

    Natural Selection and Evolution of Rock Pocket Mouse Populations

    Activity

    An activity in which students analyze amino acid data and draw conclusions about the evolution of coat color phenotypes in different rock pocket mouse populations.

  • Biochemistry and Cell Signaling Pathway of the Mc1r Gene

    Biochemistry and Cell Signaling Pathway of the Mc1r Gene

    Activity

    An advanced lesson that requires students to analyze partial DNA sequences of the Mc1r gene and identify the effects of mutations on the MC1R protein pathway.

  • Molecular Genetics of Color Mutations in Rock Pocket Mice

    Molecular Genetics of Color Mutations in Rock Pocket Mice

    Activity

    A lesson that requires students to transcribe and translate portions of the wild-type and mutant rock pocket mouse Mc1r genes and compare sequences to identify the locations and types of mutations responsible for the coat color variation described in the film. Also available in Spanish.

  • Color Variation Over Time in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations

    Color Variation Over Time in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations

    Activity

    A data collection and analysis lesson that examines selection for coat color in pocket mouse populations on different color substrates over time. Also available in Spanish.

  • Worksheet for The Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab

    Worksheet for The Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab

    Activity

    A worksheet that guides students through The Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab. The virtual lab lets students learn firsthand the methods for analyzing body structure in stickleback collected from lakes and fossils recovered from a quarry. Students measure, record, and graph their results to discover evolutionary patterns.

  • Vaccines and HIV Evolution

    Vaccines and HIV Evolution

    Lecture

    (58 min 29 sec) The search for an effective HIV vaccine, and advances in genomics that may lead to a breakthrough.

  • Fossils, Genes, and Mousetraps

    Fossils, Genes, and Mousetraps

    Lecture

    (1 hr 28 min 24 sec) Leading evolution educator Ken Miller discusses the controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution.

  • Classroom Activities: Gene Switches

    Classroom Activities: Gene Switches

    Activity

    To accompany the lecture series Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads.

  • Classroom Activities: Battling Beetles

    Classroom Activities: Battling Beetles

    Activity

    To accompany the lecture series Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads.

  • How Did We Get Here?

    How Did We Get Here?

    Article

    From the inheritance of acquired traits to natural selection to evo devo, evolutionary theory has itself evolved.

  • Genetic Switches

    Genetic Switches

    Click & Learn

    Learn about how gene switches can control expression of genes in different tissues.

  • From Butterflies to Humans

    From Butterflies to Humans

    Lecture

    (58 min 30 sec) How and why butterflies and fruit flies got their spots, and the fossil record for human evolution.

  • Fossils, Genes, and Embryos

    Fossils, Genes, and Embryos

    Lecture

    (58 min 30 sec) The genetic mechanisms by which evolution occurs, and an overview of the evidence for evolutionary theory.

  • Selection in Action

    Selection in Action

    Lecture

    (58 min 29 sec) Comparing the artificial selection of dogs and corn with the natural selection of the stickleback fish.

  • Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads

    Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads

    Lecture

    How has the amazing diversity of plants and animals evolved? What can fossils, butterflies, and stickleback fish tell us about the deep common ancestry of all living forms?

  • Stickleback Environment

    Stickleback Environment

    Clip

    (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.

  • Interview with Sean Carroll

    Interview with Sean Carroll

    Interview

    (4 min 56 sec) An interview with Dr. Carroll.

  • Gene Switch

    Gene Switch

    Animation

    (1 min 15 sec) Regulatory "switches" are found upstream from a gene. Regulatory molecules bind to the switches and recruit RNA polymerase to bind to the gene's promoter region, increasing the transcription of the gene into messenger RNA.

  • Paintbrush Gene

    Paintbrush Gene

    Animation

    (49 sec) In two related Drosophila species, a so-called paintbrush gene is activated to "paint" the pigment on the body. In one species, an extra switch activates the gene, resulting in spotted wings.

  • Pitx1 Expression

    Pitx1 Expression

    Animation

    (55 sec) In the stickleback fish, pelvic-fin reduction resulted from changes in the regulatory switch elements of the Pitx1 gene. In the marine ancestor, the Pitx1 gene is activated in the pelvic-fin region during development to generate the fin. In the pelvic-reduced stickleback, the regulatory switch that normally turns on the Pitx1 gene is either missing or non-functional.

  • Pocket Mouse Evolution

    Pocket Mouse Evolution

    Animation

    (1 min 5 sec) This simulation shows the spread of a favorable mutation through a population of pocket mice. Even a small selective advantage can lead to a rapid evolution of the population.

  • Pocket Mouse and Predation

    Pocket Mouse and Predation

    Animation

    (20 sec) The rock pocket mouse is found in two color variants, or morphs: light and dark. In different environments, their visibility to predators such as owls varies. The dark morph is more vulnerable on light sandy desert, and the light morph on dark lava rock.

  • Fossil Record of Stickleback Evolution

    Fossil Record of Stickleback Evolution

    Clip

    (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.

  • Wing Morph

    Wing Morph

    Animation

    (29 sec) This "morph" animation demonstrates how the expression of a particular toolkit gene in a butterfly larva corresponds to the location of the wing eyespots in an adult butterfly.

  • Sexual Evolution: From X to Y

    Sexual Evolution: From X to Y

    Lecture

    (1 hr 28 sec) Dr. Page explains how successive inversions and deletions of the Y chromosome during mammalian evolution have reduced it to its present form—small and sparsely populated with genes.

  • The Meaning of Sex: Genes and Gender

    The Meaning of Sex: Genes and Gender

    Lecture

    Four talks focus on sex determination—the molecular and genetic mechanisms that determine whether an organism will be male, female or a hermaphrodite.

  • Clonal vs Sexual Reproduction

    Clonal vs Sexual Reproduction

    Clip

    (8 min 56 sec) What does a stack of fruits and vegetables have to do with the theoretical advantages of sexual reproduction? Find out in this demonstration with student audience members and Dr. David Page.

  • The Y Chromosome

    The Y Chromosome

    Animation

    (2 min 46 sec) The Y chromosome has been likened to a hall of mirrors because its sequence contains many sections that appear to be palindromes. These palindromes provide a clue to some interesting events that may have occurred during the course of the chromosome's evolution.

  • Evolution of the Y Chromosome

    Evolution of the Y Chromosome

    Animation

    (5 min 39 sec) How did the human Y chromosome become so small relative to its X counterpart? This animation depicts the 300-million-year odyssey of the sex chromosomes that began when the proto X and Y were an identical pair.

  • Emerging Infections: How Epidemics Arise

    Emerging Infections: How Epidemics Arise

    Lecture

    (59 min) Dr. Ganem analyses the complex causes of epidemics—how changes in the environment and in human social behavior can give rise to new infectious diseases.

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