UniServe Science Biology Table of Contents

8.4 Life on Earth

Cell formation and its significance in the evolution of life on Earth Fossilisation
Evolution of living things Abundance and diversity of fossils
Theory of evolution Organisms and their environments
Understanding the origins of life and processes involved in evolution Understanding organisms and environments of the past

General sites on the topic

History of Life - brief notes on Origins of the Earth and Life, Precambrian Life, Paleozoic Life and Mesozoic Life from San Francisco State University

Introduction to Exobiology - from Duke University including Miller/Urey Experiments and Possible Sites for the Origin of Life

Astrobiology and the Origins of Life - from Access Excellence

The Tree of Life Web Project - a collaborative web project, including the Life on Earth (Archaea)

Cell formation and its significance in the evolution of life on Earth

Scientists find clues that the path leading to the origin of life begins in deep space - an article on research findings from NASA

The Emergence of Cells During the Origin of Life - prize winning essay, from AAAS Science Magazine

NASA Astrobiology Institute - from NASA

Fingerprints of Life - classroom activity from NASA JSC Astrobiology Education

What is Astrobiology? - from NASA JSC Astrobiology Education

How Did It All Begin? The Self-Assembly of Organic Molecules and the Origin of Cellular Life - from Understanding Evolution, University of California Museum of Paleontology

Creatures from the Black Lagoon: Lessons in the Diversity and Evolution of Eukaryotes - from Understanding Evolution, University of California Museum of Paleontology

The X-Treme Files - Life on Earth -a WebQuest from The Astrobiology Curriculum, TERC

Astrobiology in Your Classroom: Life on Earth ... and Elsewhere - a 60 page Educators Resource Guide in pdf (3.13 MB) with activities for grades 5 - 10 from NASA Astrobiology Institute

Astrobiology - The Living Universe

The Emergence of Complex Life - from Global Change, The University of Michigan

Christian deDuve Lectures on the Origins and Evolution of Life at UCSD - from Access Research Network

Rocks give clues to origin of Earth's oxygen and life - from SpaceFlight.now

Oldest rocks contain oxygen clues - from BBCNews

How It All Started - from Griffith University (19 page document, 900KB)

Urey and Miller's Experiment

From Primordial Soup to the Prebiotic Beach - this page from Access Excellence also contains some useful links

Amino acids are created in laboratory (1953) - A Science Odyssey ("Discovery" of DNA)

Miller-Urey Experiment - from Scott Ellis, University of California San Diego Television

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This section was removed from the syllabus in the October 2002 revision.

What is a fossil? from Museum Victoria, includes How are fossils formed? and Determining the age of fossils

Fossils - from NSW Department of Primary Industries - Mineral Resources Palaeontological Reference Collection. Also information on fossicking

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Evolution of living things - the fossil record

Evolution and the Fossil Record - download this 36-page booklet in pdf (1 MB) from the American Geological Institute

Museum of Paleontology - at the University of California, Berkeley with virtual exhibitions on the theory of evolution, history of evolutionary thought, geological time and Metazoa: Fossil Record

Who's on First? A Relative Dating Activity - a classroom activity (student and teacher versions provided) from LEARNING FROM THE FOSSIL RECORD at the Museum of Paleontology, University of California Berkerley

Australia's fossil past - from Australian Government Cultural Portal

Dinosaur Dreaming - Research from the Monash University Palaeolab

Yale Researchers Attribute Ancient High Levels of Oxygen In The Atmosphere To The Rise of Trees and Large Plants - press release from Yale University (March 6, 2000)

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Abundance and diversity of fossils

Koonwarra: A Famous Victorian Fossil Field from Museum Victoria

Fossils and Fossil Sites - from Australian Museum Online (Click button labelled "More about Fossil sites of Australia" for list of links to various sites around Australia).

Localities of the Vendian: Ediacara Hills, Australia - from the Museum of Paleonotology, University of California, Berkeley

Mazon Creek Fossils - from Illinois State Museum - contains plant and animal fossils dated at 300 million years old

Burgess Shale fossils - a locality in British Columbia, Canada with a exceptional collection of Cambrian fossils, from University of Calgary

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Theory of evolution

The Theory of evolution
The Talk.Origins Archives - Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy - a well developed site that explores both sides of the debate

Creation Evidence and Evolution Myth - a religious web page that argues against scientific theories

Specific cultures

Stories of the Dreaming - from Australian Museum, Aboriginal stories of the dreamtime

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Organisms and their environments


Bacteria and Archaea and the Cycles of Elements in the Environment - from TODAR's Online Textbook of Bacteriology

Cyanobacteria including those that form Stromatolites

Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve - from WA's Department of Environment and Conservation

Stromatolites - from Geological Survey WA. Western Australia is one of the most significant regions in the world for stromatolite research

Early Life on Earth: Stromatolites - from Worldwide Museum of Natural History

What are Microbial Mats?? - from NASA's Astrobiology Institute, inlcuding the interactive Microbial Mat and Stromatolite Image gallery

Cyanobacteria: Fossil Record - from University of Paleontology, University of California Berkeley, including inforation on the Bitter Springs Formation, Australia


Microorganisms survive one step closer to Mars environment - a news release (May 2001) from University of Arkansas - researchers move one step closer to growing microorganisms under Mars-like conditions.

Microbes Could Live on Mars! - from Headline Universe (news story Sep 2002) - Researchers find tiny organisms that could survive the low atmospheric pressures of Mars

Microbial Colony in U.S. Suggests Life Could Live on Mars - from National Geographic News (Jan 2002)

Bizarre Creature in Idaho Raises Prospects for Life on Mars - from SpaceNews (Jan 2002)

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Understanding the origins of life and processes involved in evolution

Life in Extreme Environments - from WomenOceanographers; abundant life found near vents in mid-ocean ridges

Exploring microbial diversity in the deep-sea environments - Japan Marine Science and Technology Center - new microorganisms found in deep sea mud (Mariana Trench)

Introduction to the Cyanobacteria - Architects of earth's atmosphere - from Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley. Short introduction with links to further information.

Scientists find direct evidence of early oxygen-producing organisms - a report in SciTech from Augusta Chronicle (USA, August 1999) about 2 billion-year-old molecular fossils found in Australia

Introduction to the Archaea: Life's extremists. . . - Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley

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Understanding organisms and environments of the past

Classification of living things

Classification of living things: An Introduction to the Principles of Taxonomy with a Focus on Human Classification Categories - from Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College

Dichotomous keys

Key to the Invertebrates - an interactive key from CSIRO - the main aim of this site is to provide an understanding of the different types of invertebrates, their classification and anatomy

CLASSIFYING AND SEQUENCING: Introduction - This exercise from Activity Exchange at Access Excellence develops multistage (dichotomous) schemes and keys for both imaginary and real populations

Donut Sort - An AskERIC Lesson Plan - using donuts to teach sorting, classifying and constructing dichotomous keys

Taxonomy: What's In a Name? - from Florida Center for Library Automation - explains scientific naming and why Linnaeus came up with such a system to describe and name new species

EucaLink: A web guide for Eucalypts - from Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Interactive dichotomous keys - from Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney - demonstrates a method of combining existing dichotomous keys with multiple entry methods based on a reduced number of simplified characters

Fish Key - from Australian Museum Fish Site

What is FaunaKeys? - web-based taxonomic tools for easy identification of selected invertebrate and vertebrate groups in New South Wales and Australia, from Australian Museum Onlin


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