- Title: Paleobiology - Unearthing Fossil Whales
- Air Date: January 16, 2014
- Series: Smithsonian Science How webcasts, which are designed to connect natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.
This video features Dr. Nick Pyenson, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Join him in uncovering fossil whales in Panama, Canada, and Chile and probing their evolutionary mysteries using 3D laser scanning technology. Consider what whale remains can tell you about past environments. Find out how paleontologists deal with large fossils. See how modern digitization techniques can be used to study a paleontological site. Learn how Nick and his team are analyzing fossil whales in conjunction with other data to enhance our understanding of whale paleontology.
Fossil Whales and Whale Evolution
National Middle School Standards
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
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.
MS-ESS2 Earth's Systems
- MS-ESS2-3: Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.