Physics KS3 / GCSE: How did complex life begin?

Professor Brian Cox explores the origins of life on earth with a visit to the Burgess Shale, a very important fossil field in Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

The fossils here record an explosion of life around 540 million years ago, during the Cambrian period, known as the ‘Cambrian explosion’.

He explains a speculative theory that the evolution of creatures with eyes, such as trilobites, triggered the evolution of more complex forms of life.

This clip is from the series Wonders of the Universe.

Teacher Notes

Challenge students to come up with a plus, minus and interesting point about the theory that "The emergence of the eye actually triggered the Cambrian explosion.”

Responses can be discussed in pairs or small groups.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Biology at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and SQA National 3/4/5 in Scotland.