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Kiveton Park Meadows Junior School

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Science - Evolution and Inheritance

To help you learn about this science topic, try to answer some of the 'What if Questions', watch David Attenborough's video about the Galapagos Islands and see if you can identify the odd one out?

 

 

What if we all looked the same?

With a friend, discuss what might be a Plus, Minus and Interesting way to think about the question. Stuck for ideas? They could think about:

  • How would we identify one another if we all looked the same? 
  • What if all animals of the same species were identical in size?
  • What if there was a contagious disease? Would we all die because our immune systems would be the same?
  • What if we weren’t interested in technology or science? Would the world be able to advance?
  • Would humans become extinct? What would kill them off?

 

We have many features in common with other humans but we are not  identical to everyone else – even identical twins have tiny differences. We might look similar to our parents and siblings but we are all individuals and will behave differently. We may share certain features in common like the ability to roll our tongues, a dimple in our chin or having long eyelashes. But we are unique, there is no one anywhere in the world just like us!

Imagine then what would happen if we were all the same? This is a great discussion. Would the world be a boring place or would it be more peaceful with no bullying or conflict? Would we have developed the skills we take for granted now? You decide!

 

What if we could bring back Woolly Mammoths

With a friend, discuss what might be a Plus, Minus and Interesting way to think about the question. Stuck for ideas? They could think about:

  • Why did mammoths become extinct in the first place?
  • Where did woolly mammoths live and what did they eat?
  • Would woolly mammoths be able to live on earth today?
  • What are the closest living relatives to mammoths alive today?
  • If woolly mammoths were brought back from extinction, where would they live?

 

Woolly Mammoths lived on Earth over 10,000 years ago during the ice age. With their large tusks and thick shaggy fur, they were well adapted to live in the cold tundra environments of that time. But, as the climate changed, the mammoths were no longer well adapted to their environment and started to die out, becoming extinct around 4000 years ago. Their closest living relatives alive today are the Asian elephants.

But how do we know so much about these creatures that lived thousands of years ago? Well-preserved fossils and frozen carcasses have been found that provide scientists with lots of evidence about what the mammoth looked like and how they lived. Some of the mammoth remains were so well preserved that scientists were able to extract DNA! 

DNA is the biological molecule that's like a genetic instruction book for all living things. It is passed down from parents to offspring (inheritance) – this why we look like our parents and siblings. The DNA of woolly mammoths can help us to understand what they looked like, for example, the colour of their fur and how they could have lived. If we have samples of DNA then in theory we could use the DNA to make a new living woolly mammoth.

 

 

Research some amazing facts about Charles Darwin.

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