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Life Has A History
This website provides students with an introduction to the history of life and how it resulted in today's biodiversity. There are three tiers of difficulty available for different grade levels. During this tour students learn about geologic time, fossils, ancestral relationships, cladograms, variation, natural selection, and extinction. Students learn that life has been around for a very long time and is the result of evolution. They learn that fossils provide evidence of past life, that much of past life is now extinct, and that evolutionary relationships of organisms can be illustrated as cladograms. Using the Galapagos finches as an example, students learn the importance of variation and natural selection in evolution, as well as the biodiversity we see on Earth today. The teacher's section provides all necessary information for implementing this module, including lesson plans, handouts, and assessment ideas.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Primary (K-2)
  • Intermediate (3-5)
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Guide for instructor
    • Lesson plan
  • Biology
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geologic time
    • Paleontology
Technical requirements:
This site works best with a T1 connection speed.
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1994-2002 by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and the Regents of the University of California. All materials appearing on the UCMP Web Servers may not be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without prior written permission of the publisher and in no case for profit.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-002-404
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • K-4:
      • C - Life science:
        • Life cycles of organisms
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Properties of earth materials
    • 5-8:
      • C - Life science:
        • Diversity and adaptations of organisms
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth's history
    • 9-12:
      • C - Life science:
        • Biological evolution
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: University of California Museum of Paleontology

Author: Ben Waggoner
University of California, Berkeley

Author: Brian R. Speer
University of California, Berkeley

Author: Judith Scotchmoor
University of California