Let’s Go On A Dig!
Paleontologists spend long amounts of time searching for fossils, digging them out so carefully, and then attempting to reconstruct how the bones might have been put together. You have learned how difficult the formation of fossils is, and how conditions must be perfect for the fossils to form, survive, and be close enough to the surface to be found.
You also know that scientific knowledge is ever changing and incomplete. As new data is discovered, ideas MUST change to incorporate the new information. Cooperation and collaboration with other scientists are vital to ensure the puzzle is as complete as it can possibly be.
Today, you and your partners are going to go on a dig in the mountains of Montana. There have been fossils found there, and you are ready to look and see what you can find.
It’s getting close to wintertime, so you know this is the last few days of digging for this year. You feel the excitement as you and your colleagues head out with your tools. The day is cool and crisp as you begin.
Let’s Go On A Dig! Activity Laboratory Proper:
NGSS Standards Covered:
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 difference among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
MS-LS4-3 Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.
Comparative Anatomy Learning Objectives
- Explain homologous, analogous, and vestigial structures.
- Examine divergent, convergent, and parallel evolution.
- Analyze cladograms for classification
Comparative Anatomy Vocabulary
Comparative anatomy, homologous structures, analogous structures, vestigial structures, divergent evolution, convergent evolution, parallel evolution, comparative embryology, cladogram, phylogenic tree
Here are the Downloadable Files for the Let’s Go On A Dig Activity
Comparative Anatomy Lab Materials:
- Envelope with cut out fossil bones.
- Comparative Anatomy Worksheet
Let's Go On A Dig Activity Procedure:
Listen as your teacher gives you the instructions for each step of the dig. At the end of each part of the “dig”, answer the questions here.
Day 1: Do some internet research on what fossils have been found in Montana. That might help you narrow down the fossils you have uncovered.
- What type of animal do you think your fossils may be? Explain why and explain any different ideas your teammates have.
- What type of animal do you think your fossils might be? Is that a change from what you thought yesterday? What makes you think it is something different now? What do your teammates think and why?
- Now what do you think? Does your whole team agree with this idea? Have there been any major changes in what animal you think you have found? What do your teammates think and why?
- After consulting with other paleontologists from other areas with the same geological time fossils, do the bones they found help you determine what YOUR animal might be.
- Now after examining your bones, and the ideas from other teams, go back to the internet and see if you can fill in any of the blanks that you have In this. Does this help?
- What can you tell about where and how this animal lived? Explain the evidence and reasoning for your claim.
- Do you feel like you have the absolute and correct answer to what your animal is? Remember, you only found 10 bones, and your colleagues each only found 10 bones- there are more bones in the “rock” (envelope) but you may not find them for many reasons. Do you understand now why the fossil record is so incomplete?
Here is your Free Content on Comparative Anatomy Lesson
Comparative Anatomy Worksheet - PDFs
- 6-6 Assignment SE - Comparative Anatomy Worksheet (FREE)
- 6-6 Assignment TE - Comparative Anatomy Worksheet ( Members Only )
- 6-6 Bell Work SE - Comparative Anatomy (FREE)
- 6-6 Bell Work TE - Comparative Anatomy ( Members Only )
- 6-6 Exit Quiz SE - Comparative Anatomy (FREE)
- 6-6 Exit Quiz TE - Comparative Anatomy ( Members Only )
- 6-6 Guided Notes SE - Comparative Anatomy (FREE)
- 6-6 Guided Notes TE - Comparative Anatomy ( Members Only )
- 6-6 Lesson Plan - Comparative Anatomy ( Members Only )
- 6-6 Online Activities - Comparative Anatomy ( Members Only )
- 6-6 Slide Show - Comparative Anatomy (FREE)
- 6-6 Vocabulary Worksheet SE - Comparative Anatomy (FREE)
- 6-6 Vocabulary Worksheet TE - Comparative Anatomy ( Members Only )
Comparative Anatomy Worksheets - Word Docs & PowerPoints
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