Ch 1: GRE Biology: History of Life

About This Chapter

Watch the video lessons in this chapter to learn about theories on geological evolution and the origins of life on Earth. You'll also explore radiometric dating methods, evolutionary change and more to prepare for these types of questions on the GRE Biology exam.

GRE Biology: History of Life - Chapter Summary

Get ready for evolution questions appearing on the GRE Biology exam with this chapter's video lessons on the early history of life on Earth. Topics of discussion include:

  • The Oparin hypothesis
  • The Miller-Urey experiment
  • Major eons in Earth's history
  • Endosymbiosis theory
  • Forms of evolutionary change
  • The geologic time scale
  • Catastrophism and uniformitarianism
  • Geological dating methods
  • Conditions of fossil preservation

To ensure you're fully prepared for GRE Biology test questions, this chapter includes entertaining videos followed by transcripts that show key terms in bold. You can also take advantage of self-checking quizzes to make sure you have a solid understanding of each lesson topic.

GRE Biology Objectives

GRE subject tests, like the biology exam, are taken by prospective graduate students who want to supplement their application and stand out during the admissions process. The GRE Biology exam includes around 190 multiple-choice questions; between 16% and 17% of them focus on evolution. You can use the video lessons and quizzes in this chapter to prepare for evolution questions covering the history of life. Topics up for discussion in this content domain include origins of cells, the fossil record and paleontology, among other topics.

12 Lessons in Chapter 1: GRE Biology: History of Life
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Origin of Life on Earth: Theories and Explanations

1. The Origin of Life on Earth: Theories and Explanations

Ever wonder how living things came from non-living things? We will explore what conditions on early Earth may have created life from non-living items.

The History of Life on Earth: Timeline and Characteristics of Major Eras

2. The History of Life on Earth: Timeline and Characteristics of Major Eras

The Earth is over 4.6 billion years old. Ever wonder what happened during certain time periods in that large amount of time? We will look at the major eons and eras of Earth's history along with important characteristics of each.

The Endosymbiosis Theory: Evolution of Cells

3. The Endosymbiosis Theory: Evolution of Cells

Ever wonder why some cells are very simple and others are complex with countless organelles to remember? We will look at how simple cells evolved to become more complex cells - as well as evidence to support this.

Evolutionary Change: Definition and Forms

4. Evolutionary Change: Definition and Forms

You've probably heard of Charles Darwin and evolution. We know that evolution is change over time, but here we will look at how these changes may have occurred during Earth's history.

Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

5. Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

The geologic time scale is an essential tool for understanding the history of Earth and the evolution of life. In this lesson, explore the principal eons, eras, periods, and epochs that help us track major events in geologic history.

Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

6. Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

Geologists haven't always agreed about the history of our planet. They have debated between catastrophism and uniformitarianism over the last few hundred years! Learn about the two main theories of geologic evolution and how scientists came to resolve the dispute.

Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

7. Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

Learn how scientists determine the ages of rocks and fossils. We'll explore both relative and numerical dating on our quest to understand the process of geological dating. Along the way, we'll learn how stratigraphic succession and radioactive decay contribute to the work of paleontologists.

What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships

8. What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships

Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age. Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past. We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!

Principles of Radiometric Dating

9. Principles of Radiometric Dating

Radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of rocks and other materials based on the rate of radioactive decay. Learn about three common types of radioactive decay: alpha decay, beta decay and gamma decay.

Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

10. Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson.

Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements

11. Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements

Learn how fossils are formed and how varying conditions affect the preservation of organisms. What is the best way for a dinosaur to become fossilized? Find out here!

Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

12. Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

You may already know how to date a fossil with a rock. But did you know that we can also date a rock with a fossil? Watch this video to find out how we use index fossils to establish the relative ages of rocks.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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