Evolution of the Senses

Professor Brian Cox puts his sense to the test in the pitch black of the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.

He describes how, without sight, his other senses become heightened. He collects some water from the cave floor and looks at microscopic organisms living in it. He explains that, even though these creatures are separated from us by billions of years of evolution, they share the same ability to sense and respond to their environment.

Teacher Notes

Testing the senses - classroom based activity. Could get students to sit in a dark room and discuss how their senses are heightened.

Ideas could be used to stimulate a fieldwork based activity using pond water. Students could pond dip, to try and collect single celled organisms such as amoebae and paramecia. These organisms could then be examined under a microscope.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Biology. This topic appears in AQA, OCR, EDEXCEL, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 in Scotland.