Shape of Life is a series of FREE short classroom videos that beautifully illustrate the evolution of the animal kingdom on planet earth. Based upon an original PBS Series, Shape of Life, is especially designed for students and teachers who want a first-hand account of how animals adapt and thrive. The series is NGSS aligned with exquisite focus on diversity, biodiversity, adaptability, body structure, design, behaviors, and the innovative scientists who explore these creatures.


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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 relationship 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

Featured Creature: Three Cheers for the Pom Pom Anemone!

photo of Liponema brevicornis

photo source:

Most of us have seen sea anemones on the rocky shores. But, the pom-pom anemone (Liponema brevicornis) lives unattached on muddy seafloors at depths of 330-3,300 feet. It feeds on food particles drifting by. They have been found near hydrothermal vents and cold seeps as well as near whale carcasses.

The pom-pom anemone can be puffed up like in the top picture, or can flatten out more like a rolled tube. Scientists have seen the anemones in this shape being blown by currents on the sea floor like a tumbleweed. Another common name for this animal is the tumbleweed anemone.  (But, we prefer Pom-Pom).