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Teaching and Learning About Evolution With The New York Times

A profile of the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in the Sept. 20 edition of Science Times encapsulated his thinking about evolution:

Professor Dawkins’s great intellectual conviction is that evolution is progressive, and tends to lead to more and more complexity. Species, in his view, often arrive at similar solutions to evolutionary puzzles — the need for ears, eyes, arms or an octopus’s tentacle. And, often although not invariably, bigger brains. So the saber-toothed tiger shows up as a cat in Europe and Asia, and as a marsupial in South America. Different species seized on the same carnivorous solution. (He most certainly does not, however, view evolution as progressing toward us, that is humans — were we to disappear, some other species most likely would fill our evolutionary niche.)

“There are endless progressions in evolution,” he says. “When the ancestors of the cheetah first began pursuing the ancestors of the gazelle, neither of them could run as fast as they can today.

“What you are looking at is the progressive evolutionary product of an arms race.”

Here are Learning Network lesson plans, New York Times articles and multimedia, and other resources for teaching about evolution.

General Lesson Plans on Evolution

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder: Understanding How Secondary Sexual Traits Contribute to Evolution

They’re More Evolved That Way: Examining How the Latest Theories on Human Evolution Might Impact Historical Understanding

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TAGGED: EDUCATION, RICHARD DAWKINS


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