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Smithsonian Science How Webcast

Global Change - Reading Ocean Fossils

In this video, paleobiologist Dr. Brian Huber explains why tiny organisms called foraminifera are great indicators of changes in global environmental conditions.


Meet Dr. Brian Huber, paleobiologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Brian specializes in tiny organisms called foraminifera (forams) that are great indicators of global changes. How can a microscopic organism that most people have never seen be so useful? Take a journey with Brian to find out how forams can tell stories about conditions on Earth millions of years ago. See how fossilized forams are collected from deep oceans and Antarctic ice. Visit an ice-covered place that used to be warm enough for marine reptiles to survive. Consider what Brian's findings suggest for future conditions on Earth, including global climate. This show aired February 12, 2015.



National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Earth Science


Earth's Place in the Universe
  • MS-ESS1-4Construct 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.


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


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.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards

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