About This Chapter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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