Biology KS3/4: Evolution of sight

Professor Brian Cox shows the stages of the evolution of the eye, from a primitive light sensitive spot, to a complex mammalian eye.

Almost all animal life can see (96% of species have an eye), and at a molecular level, every eye in the world works in the same way. At the heart of all vision is a light sensitive pigment called rhodopsin.

This clip is from the series Wonders of Life.

Teacher Notes

As a follow-up activity, make a pinhole camera from black card then investigate how changing the aperture size and adding a lens improves the quality of the image.

Pupils could produce a flow chart showing the evolution of the eye in a series of small steps, from simple light sensitive cells in volvox, to the camera eye found in modern animals such as humans.

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.

More from Wonders of Life:

Bacteria and the development of an oxygen rich atmosphere
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Conservation of energy
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How has life on Earth become so varied?
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Lemurs: Evolution and adaptation
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Jellyfish and photosynthesis
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The arrival of water on Earth
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The origins of life on Earth
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Evolution of hearing
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Evolution of the senses
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Gravity, size and mass
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Size and heat
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