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Becoming Whales: Experiencing Discoveries of Whale Evolution
In this lesson, students experience the historical discovery of fossils which increasingly link whales to earlier land-dwelling mammals. This experience also reveals how scientists can make predictions about past events based on the theory that whales evolved from certain groups of early land mammals. Such predictions suggest the age and location of sediments where fossils of early whales would most likely be found and even their traits. This lesson also provides confirmation, with multiple independent lines of evidence, that there is a series of intermediate forms showing a gradual accumulation of changes that link certain terrestrial mammal groups with modern whales.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
  • Biology
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Paleontology
  • History and philosophy of science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1999 ENSI (Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes) This material may be copied only for noncommercial classroom teaching purposes, and only if this source is clearly cited.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-004-640
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
        • Evolution and equilibrium
      • C - Life science:
        • Biological evolution
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Nature of scientific knowledge
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes

Author: Larry Flammer
Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes