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Interactive video lesson plan for: Ancestral Evolution - Ichthyostega to Varanops

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It takes over 3 billion years for our ancestor to evolve from a single cell to a foot-long armoured fish. Our future looks bleak but natural selection throws us a lifeline. Over millions of years and thousands of generations our body adapts until we do something no fish has done before, breathe air! The air travels into a new organ, a lung. Take a breath and remember it’s because a monster fish chased our ancestor into stagnant water forcing them to breathe air. We’re Ichthyostega, we can breathe air or water, closing off our windpipe to switch between lungs and gills. Today our gills are gone but the mechanism remains and sometimes it spasms giving us the hiccups. 365 million years ago we stick our head out of the water, there’s a swamp behind us, paradise ahead, the choice is simple but the consequences are immense. We pull ourselves out of the water and change the course of history.

Clip from the documentary “Mankind Rising”.

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