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Ch 17: Historical Evolution of Earth

About This Chapter

Explore our video lessons and self-assessment quizzes to understand the theories behind geological evolution. Learn about dating fossils and explore the explanations behind the origin of the earth.

Historical Evolution of Earth - Chapter Summary

Our instructors can guide you through the major eons, eras, periods and epochs of the geologic time scale. Lessons go over the theories of geologic evolution, including catastrophism and uniformitarianism. You'll also analyze the different methods of geologic dating, such as numerical and relative dating. Lessons closely examine elements behind relative dating, including the law of superposition, the principle of original horizontality and cross cutting relationships.

You can learn about the conditions needed for fossil preservation and how to apply relative dating methods on fossils, using index fossils as indicators of time. Later lessons will delve into the history of life on earth, providing a timeline of the major eras. You'll also consider the different theories and explanations behind the origin of life on earth. The ending lesson of the chapter examines the sciences of paleontology, paleoclimatology and paleogeology. By the time you finish the chapter, you should understand the following concepts:

  • The geologic time scale of eons, eras, periods and epochs
  • Theories of geological evolution
  • Definition of relative dating
  • Conditions of fossil preservation
  • Relative dating with fossils
  • Timeline and characteristics of the major eras of earth
  • Theories and explanations of the earth's origin
  • Paleontology, paleoclimatology and paleogeology

These online video lessons are led by experienced and knowledgeable instructors who explain the material in easily understood terms. Self-assessment quizzes are provided at the end of each lesson, so you can test your skills. Lesson transcripts and links are provided for quick navigation through the chapter.

8 Lessons in Chapter 17: Historical Evolution of Earth
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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!

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

5. 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

6. 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.

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

7. 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 Origin of Life on Earth: Theories and Explanations

8. 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.

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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