Today we finished up our study of fossils. Some of the conclusions we came to are that fossil teeth tell us a lot about not only what an animal ate but also about the type of environment it may have lived in. In fact, a famous french scientist, Georges Cuvier, even once declared that given a single tooth, he could describe an animals entire skeleton. Teeth are among some of the most important fossils paleontologists can study and tell us enormous amounts of information about the past history of earth.
After wrapping up our discussion of fossils, we played "The Chaos Game." In the chaos game students use dice to randomly place dots on a triangle and after many many trials, a pattern will emerge. The triangle they create is called a Sierpinski Triangle and is a great metaphor for evolution, or simply, given a definite set of rules, random events over time will create patterns. Below you can watch a video of a computer simulation creating a Sierpinski Triangle the same way we did in class.
Mr. Powell is a High School Science Teacher in Western Colorado.