Bill Shear, Biologist: How Arthropods Left the Sea

Length: 
6:38

Bill Shear investigates how arthropods made the transition to living on land by looking at microfossils preserved along with fossil plants. He extracts tiny fossils by dissolving the rock that they are embedded in. He then puts together the fragments like a jigsaw puzzle and finds a spider was one of the first invaders. Further research showed that many different groups of arthropods invaded land around the same time. Shear then describes the ecosystem of the Devonian when this invasion occurred.

Next Generation Science Standards for this Video

A microfossil of spider parts provides evidence for the arthropod invasion of land.

Bill Shear, a paleontologist, looks at microfossils, and from the pattern of animal and plant fossils makes conclusions about the arthropod invasion of land.

Bill Shear dissolves away the rock of a fossil plant embedded in the rock to look for fossil arthropods.

Bill Shear, a paleontologist, looks at microfossils, and from the pattern of animal and plant fossils makes conclusions about the arthropod invasion of land.

Scientist in this video

Life's transition from the sea to the land was perhaps as much of an evolutionary challenge as Genesis. What forms of life were able to make such a drastic change in lifestyle? -- Jane Gray and William Shear

Community Developed Lesson Plans to Use with this Video