Biogeography: Where Life Lives

Posted by Catherine Hiles on

Imagine a new island being born in the middle of the ocean. . . Initially, it’s a lifeless hunk of rock, but eventually organisms from nearby land masses are blown over on the winds and currents, they take root and adapt to island living. Over time, these organisms evolve into different species. Some species are unique, but others have similar relatives around the world.

In this video from NOVA’s Evolution Lab, students will learn about biogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of organisms. For example, they will discover how a plant in the Pacific Islands can be so similar to a South American plant. When the Earth’s land masses still formed the supercontinent Pangaea, organisms could move about freely. When the continents split, some species were divided across multiple continents, leading to very similar descendants in distant locations. 

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