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Join us on an amazing tour of how animal life evolved on planet earth

These short videos show students of all ages the dramatic rise of the animal kingdom and the astonishing diversity we see on earth today:

  • Stunning animations explain the intricate inner workings of animals’ bodies, demonstrating the complementary relationsigh of form and function.
  • Up-close films show animal behaviors while hunting and feeding in their natural habitats.
  • Scientists, shown at work, study paleontology, genetics and ecology, pursuing their passion for the animals they study.
  • From sponges, to worms, to humans, each phylum is presented in exquisite detail of its body plan and the evolutionary developments that lead to today’s astonishing diversity.
  • Other topics present exciting new developments in genetics, paleontology, and engineering.

All these videos align with the Next Generation Science Standards for grades 5-9 and California 7th grade science standards.

The Shape of Life was originally developed as an eight-part PBS television series highlighting eight phyla.

News from Shape of Life

Animal of the Month: Green Bomber Worm

photo of the green bomber worm, Swima bombiviridis
Many marine worms (Annelids) live in the waters of the deep sea. One, named the green bomber worm lives as deep as 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) beneath the surface. It’s dark that deep in the ocean with only the occasional light from deep sea creatures, called bioluminescence.

The green bomber worm, Swima bombiviridis, is a segmented worm that releases tiny fluid filled sacs that glow in the dark. The sacs are modified gill parts near its head. Researchers think that, when threatened by a predator, the worm drops this glowing “bomb” to distract the predator. The researchers observed worms swimming backwards after dropping the “bomb.”

Rock the Evolution with FREE classroom media

The Shape of Life series provides FREE classroom media to science teachers and includes over 80 short video segments based upon the exquisite PBS series on the evolution of the animal kingdom on planet earth.  These videos are available for streaming, download or on DVD.  The Shape of Life website is a complementary resource for teachers to share their classroom experiences and obtain additional resources.