pgr11279_256K.smi

A FROG'S FLASHY COLORS.

THIS WONDERFUL BUFFALO HERD.

A PRONGHORN'S GRASS-CUTTING TEETH,

OR THIS LITTLE GUY'S PADDLE-SHAPED BACK FEET.

AS DIFFERENT THEY ARE, THEY ALL HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON.

THEY'RE ALL ADAPTATIONS--

THOSE SPECIALIZED CHARACTERISTICS, OR FEATURES,

THAT HELP ANIMALS TO SURVIVE IN,

AND MAKE THE MOST OF WHERE THEY LIVE.

HELLO, MY NAME IS PAUL FUQUA AND I'M A NATURALIST.

I SPEND A LOT OF MY TIME OUTSIDE, STUDYING ANIMALS,

AND I'VE COME HERE TO LEARN ABOUT SOME OF THE ADAPTATIONS

THAT HELP THESE BISON--

OR, AS THEY'RE OFTEN CALLED, BUFFALO--

AND OTHER ANIMALS SURVIVE.

THE WORD "ADAPTATION" SOUNDS COMPLEX--

BUT IT'S EASY ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND.

BASICALLY, WHEN SCIENTISTS TALK ABOUT HOW THIS BUFFALO

OR THESE CRABS ARE WELL ADAPTED--

WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT,

WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT-- IS SURVIVAL.

ALL OF OUR MANY ANIMAL NEIGHBORS,

BE THE FEISTY PARROTS IN THE STEAMING JUNGLE,

FISH IN THE OCEAN DEEP,

OR MIGHTY POLAR BEARS IN THE FREEZING ARCTIC,

OR ANY OTHER CRITTER ARE FACED WITH THE CHALLENGE OF SURVIVING.

TO DO THAT, TO SURVIVE,

ALL ANIMALS NEED CERTAIN BASICS, SUCH AS FOOD, WATER,

A CLIMATE THEY CAN LIVE IN,

AND A PLACE TO RAISE THEIR YOUNG.

AND OVER THE MILLIONS OF YEARS THEY'VE BEEN AROUND,

ANIMALS HAVE DEVELOPED MANY SPECIALIZED CHARACTERISTICS

THAT HELP THEM TO MEET THESE, AND THEIR OTHER, NEEDS.

SCIENTISTS CALL THESE SPECIALIZED CHARACTERISTICS,

OR FEATURES...

AND IT'S LARGELY DUE TO THEM THAT ANIMALS CAN SURVIVE

JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE ON PLANET EARTH.

TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, THESE FINE FELLOWS

I FOUND SUNNING THEMSELVES IN THEIR WETLAND HOME.

THESE TURTLES LIVE IN A WATERY WORLD,

AND SEVERAL IMPORTANT ADAPTATIONS

HELP THEM TO SURVIVE IN IT.

LOOK, FOR EXAMPLE, AT THIS LITTLE GUY'S BACK FEET.

SUCH FEET ARE AN ADAPTATION THAT HELPS OUR FRIEND

TO SCOOT THROUGH THE WATER WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE.

AND NOTICE HOW BOTH THIS TURTLE'S EYES

AND HIS NOSTRILS ARE LOCATED AT THE TOP OF HIS HEAD.

THIS ARRANGEMENT IS AN ADAPTATION

THAT LETS TURTLES BOTH BREATHE AND SEE WHAT'S GOING ON

WHILE KEEPING MOST OF THEIR BODIES

SAFELY UNDER WATER AND OUT OF SIGHT.

AND THAT'S A VERY GOOD THING TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE NEIGHBORS,

SUCH AS THIS HUNGRY OLD 'GATOR SET ON MAKING A MEAL OUT OF YOU!

WHEN IT COMES TO SURVIVING...

TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, THIS LITTLE FLATFISH.

LOOK AT HOW WELL ITS COLORS MATCH THOSE

OF THE SAND IT'S RESTING ON.

THE FLATFISH BLENDS IN SO WELL IT'S ALMOST INVISIBLE.

SCIENTISTS CALL SUCH "BLENDING" CAMOUFLAGE,

AND IT'S AN IMPORTANT ADAPTATION

WHEN IT COMES TO KEEPING OUR LITTLE BUDDY

FROM ENDING UP AS SOME BIGGER FISH'S DINNER!

NOW HERE'S A LITTLE CRITTER THAT BENEFITS FROM

WHAT SCIENTISTS CALL "WARNING COLORATION,"

ANOTHER KIND OF ADAPTATION INVOLVING COLOR.

OUR FLASHY FRIEND HERE,

A POISONOUS, FOUL TASTING FROG FROM SOUTH AMERICA,

USES COLOR TO BE SEEN RATHER THAN TO HIDE.

SUCH FROGS HAVE BOLD MARKINGS AND BRIGHT COLORS

THAT WARN BIRDS--

AND OTHER WOULD-BE PREDATORS-- TO LEAVE THEM ALONE.

WHEN IT COMES TO OUR ANIMAL NEIGHBORS,

YOU CAN TELL LOTS ABOUT THEM

BY WATCHING HOW THEY CHEW THEIR FOOD.

THAT'S BECAUSE OVER THE MILLIONS OF YEARS

ANIMALS HAVE ROAMED THE EARTH

THEIR TEETH HAVE ADAPTED TO THE MANY DIFFERENT FOODS AVAILABLE TO THEM.

THIS PRAIRIE-LIVING PRONGHORN PROVIDES A FINE EXAMPLE

OF THIS KIND OF ADAPTATION.

PRONGHORNS ARE HERBIVORES, OR PLANT EATERS

AND THEIR TEETH ARE BEAUTIFULLY ADAPTED TO THEIR GRASSY DIET.

HERE, FOR EXAMPLE, IS A PRONGHORN JAW I FOUND.

LOOK AT THESE SHARP-EDGED CUTTING TEETH

AT THE JAW'S FRONT.

THEY'RE PERFECT FOR SLICING THROUGH TOUGH PRAIRIE GRASS.

AND HERE, AT THE BACK, ARE THESE BROAD, FLAT-TOPPED TEETH.

THEY'RE IDEAL FOR GRINDING UP A MOUTHFUL OF GRASS

BEFORE SWALLOWING IT.

TOGETHER, THESE TWO SPECIALIZED TEETH

HELP PRONGHORNS TO GET PLENTY OF NOURISHMENT

FROM THEIR GRASSLAND HOME.

NOW, HERE'S A BADGER.

LIKE PRONGHORNS, BADGERS LIVE IN GRASSLANDS.

UNLIKE THEM, HOWEVER, BADGERS ARE FIERCE CARNIVORES,

OR MEAT EATERS,

AND PRAIRIE DOGS, AND OTHER SUCH SMALL ANIMALS

ARE THEIR DINNER OF CHOICE.

AND HERE'S A BADGER'S SKULL.

LOOK AT THESE LARGE, DAGGER-LIKE TEETH.

BADGERS USE THEM TO GRAB AND KILL THEIR PREY.

THEY THEN USE THESE SHARP SIDE TEETH

TO GRIND UP THEIR CATCH BEFORE SWALLOWING IT.

FLESH EATING BADGERS

AND GRASS EATING PRONGHORNS,

AS DIFFERENT AS THE TWO ARE, THANKS LARGELY TO THE

SPECIALIZED WAY THEIR TEETH HAVE ADAPTED,

BOTH CAN GET THE FOOD THEY NEED IN THEIR GRASSLAND HOME.

ALONG WITH PHYSICAL ADAPTATIONS,

SUCH AS PADDLE-SHAPED SWIMMING FEET,

BOLD, EYE CATCHING MARKINGS,

AND SHARP, GRASS-CUTTING TEETH,

ANIMAL'S BEHAVIOR CAN ALSO ADAPT.

LOOK, FOR EXAMPLE, AT THIS SCHOOL OF FISH ON THE GO,

THESE EVER-BUSY LITTLE FIDDLER CRABS,

THIS FLOCK OF HUNGRY SHOREBIRDS,

AND THESE MIGHTY BUFFALO.

THEY ALL PROVIDE GREAT EXAMPLES OF HOW ANIMAL'S BEHAVIOR,

IN THIS CASE HERDING TOGETHER IN A GROUP,

CAN ADAPT IN WAYS THAT INCREASE SURVIVAL.

TAKE OUR FRIENDS HERE.

TOGETHER, THEIR COMBINED EYES, EARS, AND NOSES

ARE ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR HUNGRY BEARS,

WOLVES, AND OTHER SUCH DANGERS.

SUCH GROUP WATCHFULNESS INCREASES THE CHANCE

THAT THE HEARD WILL NOTICE ANY THREAT AND THUS IMPROVES

THE ODDS THAT ALL ITS MEMBERS WILL SURVIVE UNHARMED.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT ADAPTATIONS,

SUCH AS THIS LITTLE GUYS' PADDLE-SHAPED BACK FEET,

HAPPEN NATURALLY BY CHANCE, AND NOT BY CHOICE.

AND IF, SUCH AS THESE SPECIALIZED KILLING TEETH,

OR THESE BUFFALOES HERDING BEHAVIOR,

THE ADAPTATIONS HELP ANIMALS TO SURVIVE BETTER,

THEY ARE LIKELY TO BECOME MORE COMMON

AS THEY ARE PASSED ON FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT.

A BADGER'S FLESH-RIPPING TEETH,

A TURTLE'S WEBBED FEET,

BUFFALOES HERDING BEHAVIOR,

AND A FROG'S FLASHY COLORS,

AS DIFFERENT AS ALL THESE ARE, THEY'RE ALL ADAPTATIONS,

THOSE MANY AND DIFFERENT SPECIALIZED CHARACTERISTICS

THAT HELP ANIMALS OF ALL KINDS TO SURVIVE IN

AND MAKE THE MOST OF WHERE THEY LIVE.

WELL, NOW WE'VE SEEN SOME OF THE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS ANIMALS CAN ADAPT,

LET'S PLAY A SHORT QUIZ GAME

AND SEE HOW MUCH YOU CAN REMEMBER.

THE QUIZ GAME IS FUN-- AND IT'S ALSO EASY TO PLAY.

I'M GOING TO ASK YOU FIVE QUESTIONS.

I'LL BEGIN BY THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING

THAT HAS TO DO WITH ADAPTATIONS.

THEN I'LL GIVE YOU SOME CLUES.

AFTER YOU READ THEM, DECIDE WHAT I'M THINKING ABOUT

AND THEN WRITE YOUR ANSWER.

THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO THE QUIZ GAME

SO LET'S GET STARTED.

I'M THINKING ABOUT WHAT SCIENTISTS CALL ANIMALS,

SUCH AS THIS LITTLE PRONGHORN, THAT...

WHAT KIND OF ANIMALS AM I THINKING ABOUT ?

THE ANSWER IS HERBIVORES.

HERBIVORES, SUCH AS OUR FRIEND HERE,

ARE PLANT EATING ANIMALS.

THIS TIME I'M THINKING ABOUT A KIND OF ADAPTATION THAT...

WHAT AM I THINKING ABOUT?

THE ANSWER IS "WARNING COLORATION,"

OR THE USE OF BOLD MARKINGS AND COLORS TO WARN PREDATORS AWAY.

NOW I'M THINKING ABOUT A WORD THAT DESCRIBES THE...

WHAT WORD AM I THINKING ABOUT?

THE ANSWER IS "ADAPTATIONS."

ADAPTATIONS ARE SPECIALIZED FEATURES

THAT HELP ANIMALS, AND OTHER LIVING THINGS, SURVIVE.

NOW WE'RE GOING TO PLAY THE QUIZ GAME

A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY.

FOR THE NEXT TWO QUESTIONS I'LL READ YOU A SENTENCE

AND THEN YOU'LL SUPPLY ITS MISSING LAST WORD.

HERE'S THE FIRST SENTENCE.

THE ANSWER IS "CHOICE."

ADAPTATIONS HAPPEN BY CHANCE

AND NOT BECAUSE ANIMALS WANT THEM TO.

AND HERE'S THE LAST QUESTION.

ONCE AGAIN, YOU'RE TO SUPPLY THE MISSING WORD.

NOW HERE'S THE SENTENCE.

THE ANSWER IS "BEHAVIOR."

SOME ADAPTATIONS, SUCH AS THE WAY SOME ANIMALS

HERD TOGETHER INTO GROUPS, INVOLVE BEHAVIOR.

WELL, THAT ENDS OUR QUIZ GAME,

AND OUR LOOK AT HOW ADAPTATIONS HELP ANIMALS TO SURVIVE IN,

AND MAKE THE MOST OF, WHERE THEY LIVE.

CAPTIONING PERFORMED BY PILGRIM IMAGING, INC, 800-874-5474