This is part of the larger site of the University of California Museum of Paleontology, the leading US centre for research and education on the origins and diversity of life. The two main routes into the site are ‘The Theory of Evolution’ and ‘The History of Evolutionary Thought’, but perhaps the best way to explore the site is by hopping on its ‘Web Lift’ – from here you can access the homepage of the Museum of Paleontology, Any Taxon, Any Period, Any Topic, Glossary, and the Help page. Each of these are divided into further subsections, and hyperlinks are used extensively to provide definitions of terms and point you to relevant illustrations, further specialist information, or specimens from the museum’s vast collections (which include the largest collection of fossils in the USA). The Topics page is a good starting point, with its sections on Evolution, Fossil Localities, History of Biology (which includes an extensive section on scientists’ biographies), Marine Biology, Microbiology, Paleontology, Phylogenetics, and the museum’s special exhibits. Or, from Any Period, you can use the Web Geological Time Machine, an interactive timeline, to explore any era. Another section called Welcome to the Geology Wing presents a series of exhibits that take you on a journey through the history of the Earth, stopping at particular points in time to look at the fossil record.
Unbelievable as it may seem in the 21st century, many American schools choose to teach evolution as if it were simply a theory rather than established scientific fact, which has led to one of the fiercest educational debates of our time – the evolution/creation controversy. To find out more about this, simply follow the link to the Talk Origins Archive, which provides comprehensive links to sites on both sides of the argument, and the link to the National Center for Science Education, the US organization working to keep so-called ‘scientific creationism’ out of the classroom.
There are many routes into this richly informative site and, beyond it, to the UCMP’s home site, with its wealth of additional features such as Explore Our Collections, Discover the History of Life, a paleontology portal, and a new online database, the Miocene Mammal Mapping Project.