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Overviews, Timelines, Summaries of Earth History

Geologic time scales, links to on-line time scales with information about fossils organized by their geologic age.

Fossils of Kentucky, Kentucky Geological Survey. Want to know about fossils and earth history in Kentucky? This is the site. Provides a brief earth history of Kentucky through time, images and descriptions of fossils found in Kentucky arranged by type of fossil, facts about fossils, and news briefs about fossils.

Learning from the Fossil Record, Paleontological Society.  An excellent resource. Provides more than 20 classroom activities about fossils and earth history, and has a National Science Standard Matrix with web links to more than 30 classroom activities, which demonstrate various aspects of the National Science Standards and are categorized by appropriate grade content. Activities about climate, dinosaurs, Earth history, fossils, and plate tectonics are just some of the topics offered.

Life Over Time, Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois. Provides a virtual trip through the museum's exhibit Life Over Time, which is divided into Life Before the Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, and Life After the Dinosaurs. These sections provide a quick look at earth history through exhibits of the Museum. A Teachers Guide, is available, which includes the activities: Words from the Past; Prehistoric word search and crossword, How big was the animal?, and Prehistoric motion, a flip-motion book for Albertasaurus and Triceratops. Also worth investigating at this site is, Sue at the Field Museum, which describes the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known, and also has games and flip-motion books for the classroom.

Zoom Dinosaurs . Enchanted Learning. Wonderful K-12 site with information and colorful child-oriented images about dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures from earth's past.

History of Life, University of California, Berkeley. Excellent site for learning about the history of life on our planet. You can select times in earth history, select ancient groups, etc. from the tree of life (a systematics or phylogenetic tree), or choose a particular taxon (animal name or group).  The site also contains information about evolution, and lessons and activities for K-12 and University programs.

Palaeos. Great site for finding content information about ancient life. Scroll down to the “buttons,” which provide options for navigating this site. Under life, choose from among the major kingdoms to see systematics (family trees). For each of the highlighted clades, groups, families, etc. there are pictures and explanations. For information about ancient vertebrates, choose chordates, and then pick a taxon (scientific animal name, for example Tyrannosaurus ) from the alphabetical listing or choose from the phylogenetic (systematic) listing.  Much of the taxon material is technical, but there is a general summary of major groups for each taxa and numerous images.  References (many web-based) are also provided throughout the website.

Tree of Life Project. The project is a collaborative effort of biologists from around the world, which provides information about biodiversity, the characteristics of different groups of organisms, and their evolutionary history. Click on a kingdom and follow the systematics (family tree) through the tree of life to more specific organisms. The tree uses technical (latin) names in a hierarchial classification (using cladistics/cladograms), but there is a general summary in an introduction along each part of the tree (scroll to text below the tree), followed by more technical information on characteristics, fossils, phylogenetic relationships, and references.

The Fossil Record 2. Benton, M.J., ed., Chapman and Hall, 1993. This site provides an online database of life through time compiled at the level of the family (so can also be searched by order, class, and phyla), which shows the oldest fossil occurrence, number of originations and extinctions, and number of taxa, through all time or by time intervals. You can search by family record, or by stage (time). You can also manipulate and plot the data as online. A good source of quantitative records for understanding/teaching earth history, extinctions, and evolution.



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