Evolution and speciation are a trial-and error process. This game invites students to build their own animals, by choosing different physical adaptations. When the adaptations match those of a dinosaur, archaeopteryx, or a modern bird, that match is shown.

Click on the header in the page to see an animation of the changes in form from dinosaur to bird



Teacher should introduce the following terminologies and its purpose to the bird: hollow bones, keel, feather, opposing toes, fused or clawed hand and beak. The teacher should explain how these features are adaptations that work together to assure survival of the species.

Examples of animals/birds/fish/reptile/amphibian adaptations should be given with discussion of how the adaptation helps the animal. Examples: Australia Shingle-back Skink has a fat tail. Like many desert animals it needs to store food and water. The White’s Tree Frog has feet that are equipped with “suction cups” and they can climb smooth surfaces with ease. The skin is covered with a thick cuticle that allows it to retain moisture as an adaptation to arid areas. The White Throated Savanna Monitor will swallow small prey or pieces of large prey whole rather than chew it, as do iguanas and other lizards. Like snakes, they have a strong bony roof to the mouth protecting the brain from being damaged by the passage of large mouthfuls. They can also greatly increase the size of their mouth cavity by spreading the hyoid apparatus and dropping the lower jaw. African Pygmy Goats are agile climbers. The hair growing between their hooves gives them traction on smooth surfaces.


Students should create a plausible animal of their own, utilizing the different features illustrated in “Becoming” to include: hollow/non-hollow bones, feathers/no feathers, keel/no keel, tail/no tail, opposing/non-opposing toes, fused or clawed hand, beak/no beak (following discussion as to what feature). Pictures should be created on poster board then put together with solid brass fasteners to allow individual body parts to be mobile. Teacher should encourage creativity and pull data from other site areas-movable beak, courtship plumage, holding a piece of food in foot or beak… Students need to be able to explain the adaptations they have given to their creature, and how these adaptations would increase chances for survival/evolvement and in what way.

Second option-Using foam core, students will create a mystery animal utilizing featured adaptations. Once done, it will be cut out. Without showing their puzzle to their fellow students (can be done with one classmate or as a group), they will describe why they chose specific features, how the adaptations would have been used and why they were necessary for survival of the species. A classmate will then put the puzzle together using the clues given and reiterate how this animal utilized each feature.

  Hunters & Hunted
  What's for Lunch?
  How's the Water
  Beaks are Tools
  Backyard Birdfeeder
  Shapes & Sizes
  Lift Off
  A Big Enough Wing
  Migration Hopscotch
  Sing Out Loud
  Virtual Incubator
  Dance of Love
  On the Egg
Becoming a Bird
  The Big Deal: The Feather
  Dead or Alive
  Are Birds Dinosaurs?

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