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Complete program description for educators
  Series Overview |  Show 1 |  Show 2 |  Show 3 |  Show 4 |  Show 5 |  Show 6 |  Show 7
Show 2: Great Transformations

57 minutes, 6 DVD chapters

  Chapter 1. Prologue (2:56)  

Introduction to the show's theme: key transformations in the development of life

  • Human connections to all animal life
  • Following the tree of life back four billion years

  Chapter 2. The Evolution of Whales (13:43)  

The mystery of whale evolution, solved by fossil research

  • Understanding human evolution through the study of whale evolution
  • Brief definition and history of mammals
  • How did land-based mammals return to the sea?
  • Fossils from "transitional species" trace whale evolution
  • Studying whale movement to see evolutionary relationship with land mammals

  Chapter 3. From Water to Land (10:27)  

Understanding the transition from water to land-based life

  • Paleontological research into early tetrapod fossils
  • Which came first: leaving the water or developing legs?
  • The transition from fins to limbs; an evolutionary survival strategy

  Chapter 4. The First Animals (5:27)  

Exploring the origins of animal life

  • The Cambrian explosion, the sudden appearance of animal life
  • The Burgess Shale and its rich fossil record
  • Trilobites, an extinct arthropod and relative of crabs, insects, and spiders
  • Pikia, perhaps the earliest ancestor of modern vertebrates

  Chapter 5. The Mechanism of Change (14:31)  

The search for evolution's genetic mechanism, and the simplicity of the answer

  • Fruit fly research into evolution and genes
  • Embryo development and its clues to evolution
  • The theory that genes are the architects of the body, and a universal set of genes builds all animals

  Chapter 6. The Transformation of Humans (9:26)  

The crucial transition to bipedal movement

  • Human abilities are remarkable, yet we are built from the same genes as all animals
  • Studying primate movement to understand human ancestors and evolution
  • The existence of homo sapiens was not inevitable

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