Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Animation, TED Talk or YouTube video
Create a Lesson

Four billion years of evolution in six minutes - Prosanta Chakrabarty

  • 222,213 Views
  • 380 Questions Answered
  • Best of Web

Let’s Begin…

Did humans evolve from monkeys or from fish? In this TED Talk, ichthyologist and TED Fellow Prosanta Chakrabarty dispels some hardwired myths about evolution, encouraging us to remember that we're a small part of a complex, four-billion-year process -- and not the end of the line.

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Best of Web

TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

Meet The Creators

Additional Resources for you to Explore
Did we really evolve from fish? It may seem strange that we did, but the evidence can be found not just in fossils but also within our own bodies. From the groove above your top lip, to the reason we hiccup to the location of our gonads- all have roots in our fishy ancestry.

So how did fish evolve into walking land animals? A new genetic study from scientists at New York University reveals something surprising: Fish called “little skates” possess the genetic blueprint that allows for the right-left alternation pattern of locomotion that four-legged land animals use. Those genes were passed down from a common ancestor that lived 420 million years ago, long before the first vertebrates ever crawled from sea to shore. In other words, some animals may have had the neural pathways necessary for walking even before they lived on land.

What other misconceptions do we have about evolution? A popular misconception is that natural selection and evolution are the same thing- but natural selection is just one mechanism of the evolution process. Others include: organisms are always getting bigger and that evolution is about the origin of life.

Watch these recommended TED-Ed Lessons:

Myths and misconceptions about evolution
How does evolution really work? Actually, not how some of our common evolutionary metaphors would have us believe. For instance, it's species, not individual organisms, that adapt to produce evolution, and genes don't "want" to be passed on -- a gene can't want anything at all! Alex Gendler sets the record straight on the finer points of evolution.

What is the biggest single-celled organism?
The elephant is a creature of epic proportions — and yet, it owes its enormity to more than 1,000 trillion microscopic cells. And on the epically small end of things, there are likely millions of unicellular species, yet there are very few we can see with the naked eye. Why is that? Why don’t we get unicellular elephants? Or blue whales? Or brown bears? Murry Gans explains.

The amazing ways plants defend themselves
Plants are constantly under attack. They face threats ranging from microscopic fungi to small herbivores like caterpillars, up to large herbivores like elephants. But plants are ready, with a whole series of internal and external defenses that make them a less appealing meal — or even a deadly one. Valentin Hammoudi explains some of the fascinating ways that plants defend themselves.

Customize This Lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Best of Web

TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

Meet The Creators