Exploring mammals to extremophiles!

Exploring mammals to extremophiles!

Identifying Connections within Divergent Groups

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e.g. Monotreme: Platypus. Fossil evidence is rare, dating back to the Mesozoic Era in Australia and Argentina. Little is known about their evolutionary history.
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The fossil record often produces material that leaves researchers scratching their heads. Part of this puzzle stems from the fragmentary nature of many fossils but sometimes it is the result of a lack of surviving descendants (or they’ve changed so much that they are not immediately linked). Visit the Museum of Paleontology at U.C. Berkeley and explore the relationships between species.

Hall of Mammals
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Review the site to better understand the evolution and classification of mammals. Once you are familiar with the four (4) main categories, search the internet for a visual example from one of these mammal groups. Post your favorite with a brief explanation of which mammal group it belongs to and why you found it interesting. Use the example at the top of this page as a model. Don’t forget to include your source and search out lesser-known examples.

Now that you’ve had a chance to study the more recognizable forms of life, check out these very interesting extremophiles. These organisms survive in such extreme environments that scientists have struggled to classify them. Virtually unrecognized until recent decades, extremophiles inhabit such a bizarre spectrum of severe habitats that they require alternative classification systems. In fact, they have even contributed to redefining our definitions of life. Browse this site to explore some of these extreme life forms:

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While most of these organisms are microscopic, not all of them are. Find one that you think it particularly interesting and share it with the class. HINT – you can search out newly discovered prospects in the news. Please try to be diverse in your offerings.


  1. Post your selection and explanation of a favorite animal/classification from the Hall of Mammals exhibit.(15 points)
  2. Post your extremophile sample (photos are good!) to share with the class. (5 points)
  3. Your post should be a minimum of 100+ words – please cite any resources used. (5 points)

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