Category Archives: Origins of Life

The Great Debate: What is Life?

Three World-Changing Biology Experiments

A quick overview of three experiments that helped advance Biology:

Resources for Option D: Evolution

A huge thank-you to Jason de Nys of the Australian International School of Hong Kong for posting a link to his SlideShare page with presentations for Option D: Evolution. It is not an option that I have taught before, so there was a gap in the resources on this site.

One example is posted below, and the others are embedded on the appropriate pages, but please also visit Jason’s SlideShare page to see more of his work.

Thanks to Jason for sharing his work!

This presentation outlines a research project that we carried out a while back with a visiting geneticist. It uses authenttic research tools (and databases), and ties many elements of the course together – especially for HL students.

Evolution (Core)

Ecuador Hummingbirds

Ecuador Hummingbirds

Start with this reading on Evolution and Darwin: and then watch this video of evolutionary researchers in action in Ecuador.

In the clip below, is Ross using the correct language when he describes the theory and evidence for evolution?

Here is the class presentation

And the Essential Biology notes can be found here:

There are many sources of interactives and animations on Evolution on the internet. Here are a few:

PBS Evolution has lots of high-quality activities and videos

BiologyInMotion has a very clear population evolution interactive

The Exploring Evolution weblab has examples of homologous structures and fossil evidence

MMHE has a pesticide resistance tutorial

And there are some good peppered moth simulations here and here

As always, sumanas has a great resource – this time on antibiotic resistance

And John Kyrk has a truly awesome timeline of the evolution of life

Darwin resources:

Attenborough on Darwin: The Tree Of Life

Dawkins Darwin Lectures from OU/BBC

And of course, all of Darwin’s works are available online from

And here’s Dawkins on the evolution of the eye:

Attenborough on Darwin: The Tree of Life

This is on my shopping list for sure – and one of those rare occasions I miss British TV. Attenborough kicks the Year of Darwin off with his new documentary, The Tree of Life. Sadly the BBC iPlayer thingy is only available in the UK, though I’m sure some will know how to fool it – if you hurry there are a few days left to download it!

Here’s the man himself (Attenborough, not Darwin – that would be cool) in an interview with Nature magazine:

And if you’re up for an interesting quick read, here are the Top Ten Myths of Darwin from The Rough Guide to Evolution blog.

Dawkins on Darwin & Channel 4’s ‘Genius of Darwin’

You can almost feel the Darwin fever as we near the 150th anniversary of the publishing of ‘On the Origin of Species‘. Channel 4 in the UK recently aired this special interview with Dawkisquawks talking about the life and work of Darwin. Their site is very good.

The whole lot has been posted to YouTube, but I doubt it will be there for long, so get on over and save it:

As Dawkins is wont to do, it is very long: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Channel 4 is also running a new series called “The Genius of Darwin“, so keep an eye out for that:

Here is episode 1: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. And here’s the whole thing on GoogleVideo

Here is episode 2: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. It’s not on GoogleVideo yet.

Episode 3 should be up next week.

I recently made another post about ‘On the Origin…’, so head over there for more links. And if you feel like testing the strength of your bookshelf, I can recommend Dawkins’ newest book, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing.

Barenaked Ladies – History of Everything

Thanks to HezWad from the TES Boards for this one:

Go over to the original post at YouTube for the lyrics.

The Simpsons’ take on evolution is after the jump, thanks to cb23.

Read the rest of this entry

A new year, a new beginning (of all life on Earth)

Miller-Urey experimentTwo short clips of Miller-Urey’s experiments demonstrating the formation of amino acids from water, ammonia and hydrogen (with a little help from lightning). The evidence produced by this experiment supported the hypothesis of chemical evolution – the formation of organic compounds from inorganic molecules.

Thanks to Hilary Rimbi from the IB’s OCC  for posting this link. Stanley Miller - No messing

A quick Google search turned up this short clip of Stanley Miller describing the experimental set-up.

If you click here, you can also try a simulation of the experiment (can be saved with Flashcatcher). This little Flash was produced by the University of California at San Diego’s TV channel. I haven’t had time to search through their site, but there may be more useful nuggets of Science gold there.

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