WEBCAST: Paleobotany - Climate Change Past and Present

Scott Wing

Dr. Scott Wing in the field in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming with a photo of a swamp to show what the area would have looked like 50 million years ago. In his webcast, Scott reveals evidence for changes in plant communities during a distinct global warming event about 56 million years ago. Image courtesy of Ira Block. 

Smithsonian Science How: Paleobotany - Climate Change Past and Present

Featuring Paleobotanist Scott Wing

Meet Dr. Scott Wing, a paleobotanist at the National Museum of Natural History. See what he found in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming that was worth eleven years of searching. Join him in interpreting the climate record from fossilized leaves and other clues. Explore how plant communities have changed in response to global climate changes. Understand today's warming of our planet in a geological context.

Watch a recording of the June 5, 2014 webcast, using the link below. The show aligns with national science standards.

How do you participate in the webcast program?

1. WATCH the archive video 

2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast

3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students


The Climate Change 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-ESS3 Earth and Human Activities

  • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century

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
  • MS-LS4-4 Construct 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-LS4-6 Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time