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Teaching Resources

Fossil Whales and Whale Evolution

STEM Discipline

Paleontology

National Middle School Science Standards

Life ScienceEarth Science

Key Terms:

paleontology, fossil record, evolution, extinction, natural selection, 3D digitization

Key Concepts:  

  • Evolution of marine mammals
  • Interpreting ecosystem changes through fossils
  • How plate tectonics shape the fossil record
  • 3D Digitization as a scientific tool 
  • Technology used by paleontologists

Resource Types:

Associated Experts

Early whale, Llanocetus, that cruised the ancient seas 35 million years ago. Illustration, based on fossil remains, by Mary Parrish, Smithsonian.Early whale, Llanocetus, that cruised the ancient seas 35 million years ago. Illustration, based on fossil remains, by Mary Parrish, Smithsonian.
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RESOURCES ABOUT FOSSIL WHALES AND WHALE EVOLUTION

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NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS (NGSS)

The Fossil Whale and Whale Evolution teaching resources support students in meeting the following NGSS Performance Expectations:

Life Science

MS-LS4

Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • MS-LS4-1Analyze 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-LS4-2Apply 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.
  • MS-LS4-4Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
  • MS-LS4-6Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Earth Science

MS-ESS2

Earth's Systems
  • MS-ESS2-3Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards

MS-LS4, MS-ESS2

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Paleobiologist Dr. Nick Pyenson crouched down on beach sand by a fossil dolphin skeleton. Two other people are next to him.
Nick Pyenson
Paleobiologist and Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals