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A Strange Fish Indeed
Through a series of fictionalized diary entries, this case recounts the 1939 discovery by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer (and identification by J.L.B. Smith) of a living coelacanth, a fish believed to be extinct for over 70 million years. Developed for...

A Whale of a Tale?
For years whale evolution was characterized by speculation and limited evidence. Evolution critics even focused on whales as a means to criticize evolutionary theory. Now whale evolution represents one of the best examples of "macroevolution." This "cl...

It’s a Crocodile! No, a Fish! No, a Dolphin!
It is not uncommon to hear creationists argue that evolution is not science because no one saw it happen, or for students to wonder how we can know anything about the physiology or behavior of organisms that went extinct hundreds of millions of years a...

Man's Best Friend?
In this case, students learn how archaeology operates as an historical science by collecting and analyzing material evidence to make claims about the past. Assuming the role of zooarchaeologists, they evaluate a hypothetical case in which “Dr. Ja...

Of Mammoths and Men
The discovery of a mammoth frozen in the Siberian tundra is the backdrop for this case study, which explores theories for the extinction of the great Ice Age mammals and Homo neanderthalensis. Students research evidence for and against the dif...

Seven Skeletons and a Mystery
This problem-based learning case uses Archaeopteryx, the most famous fossil in the world, to show the vital role that fossils play in understanding evolutionary history and to explore the different theories for the origin of flight and the deb...

Should Dinosaurs Be Cloned from Ancient DNA?
Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, as a novel and then a blockbuster movie, reawakened the public's fascination with dinosaurs. Although dinosaurs have always been popular, Spielberg's sophisticated cinema computer graphics thrilled human imagi...

The Coelacanth: An Odd Fish
This "clicker case" is a redesign of a case, also in our collection, by Robert H. Grant titled "A Strange Fish Indeed: The 'Discovery' of a Living Fossil." The case follows the story of Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer and her discovery of the coelacanth, a ...

The Dating Game
In this role-playing case study, students attempt to determine the identity of a variety of human fossils based on characteristics described during a “quiz show.”  The case was designed to be used in a general biology class for freshma...

The Missing Link
The setting for this case study is a paleontological dig in East Africa, where “Sam,” an American undergraduate student, has unearthed part of what appears to be an ancestral human skull. Students read the case story and then, in the lab, t...