WEBCAST: What Tiny Marine Fossils Reveal about Extinction

Watch the archive of the webcast featuring Smithsonian paleontologist Dr. Gene Hunt. In the show, Gene explains how he uses fossils to study a marine extinction mystery.

Smithsonian Science How: What Tiny Marine Fossils Reveal about Extinction

Featuring Paleontologist Gene Hunt

Meet Dr. Gene Hunt, paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Have you ever wondered what makes a species likely to go extinct? Some species have a long tenure on Earth, while others go extinct more rapidly. Gene analyzes fossils of tiny ocean animals called ostracodes to tease out what characteristics govern their tenacity on Earth. See how microscopy helps him tell males from females. Marvel at the methods he uses to test the hypothesis that sex differences play a role in whether a species can survive environmental changes.

Watch a recording of the February 9, 2017, webcast using the player above. The webcast aligns with national science standards.

How do you participate in the webcast program?

1. WATCH the archive video above

   2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast

      3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students


The What Tiny Marine Fossils Reveal about Extinction webcast package supports students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe

  • MS-ESS1-4 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old-history

MS-ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1 Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past
  • MS-LS4-2 Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships