Identifying Connections within Divergent Groups

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)
  4. Leave substantive* comments on THREE (3) other student posts – select ones who wrote about different examples than you selected. Use this as an opportunity to learn what they have to share. (5 points each)

Student 1

Koalas are one of my favourite animals, and they are marsupials as kangaroos. Koalas have grey fur, and they are tree-dwellers, they live in the tree. Their food is just leaves. They can grow to be two to three feet long and weigh between 9 to 29 pounds. Koalas usually sleep 22 hours in a day, which means 5/6 of the day, they are asleep. Koalas are found in eastern and southeastern Australia.

Extremophiles are organisms that can live in extreme environments included intense heat, highly acidic environments, extreme pressure and extreme cold. For example, tardigrades are organisms, known as water bears. “They can inflate them into a balloon-like for and float to the surface of the water to get oxygen”.

student 2

The group I chose was the Eutheria mammal group. The more specific animal I chose from that group is the armadillo. The armadillo is a part of a sub section called Xenartha, which also includes animals like sloths and anteaters. The armadillo is my favorite animal because it is constantly on defense. The hard leather like shell protects the body of the armadillo and to me is the animal kingdoms equivalent to an armored car. Armadillos only eat veggies and bugs, so they are not hunters. The majority of this special group of animals live in South America and in zoos across the world. For an animal that looks quite vulnerable the armadillo can really stun a predator trying to get an easy meal. #TEAMARMADILLO

Archea- Pyrococcus Furiosus

student 3

Marsupial Mammals is my most favorite classification from the Hall of Mammals especially Koala. Koala (or koala bear) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Austrailia. They inhabit open woodlands, and the leaves of these three make up most of the diet. They are largely sedentary and sleep up for 20 hours a day since their eucalypt diet has nutritional and caloric content. The reason I love them is that they are cute. It is so much fun to watch them sleep as I look forward to living like their lifestyle which is relaxing.

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