24 Oct Looking for transitional fossil forms
This 45 min activity is based on a research project which was really performed. It places students in the situation of researchers looking for transitional fossil forms.
The activity :
This activity is adapted from the work of Neil Shubin and his team, who discovered in 2006 an important transitional fossil form between fish and tetrapods. In an hour, students identify characteristics of fish and tetrapods, place on a timeline already identified fossils and deduct from it the potential localization of transitional fossil forms. They then analyze why the found fossils are indeed transitional and recapitulate the scientific process that led to such a discovery.
This activity was tested on 1st year biology undergrads.