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Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Videos, 12 minutes, 21 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus


Biodiversity and Extinction, Then and Now

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  • This video discusses extinction, how we measure extinction in the fossil record, what caused the other five mass extinction events, and the current rate of extinction. 
  • The content can be applied to a number of science courses and has standards identified for AP Biology.
Teaching Tips


  • This video helps students visualize and understand speciation, extinction, causes for mass extinction events, and what might happen in our future.
  • The animations are terrific.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the terms species, population, natural selection, and evolution.
  • Teachers and students must sign into their Google Classroom to record the interactive quiz score.


Scientist Notes
This video resource examines the 5 known mass extinction events in Earth's history and the hypotheses on what caused those events. Some scientists now propose that Earth is facing a 6th mass extinction event caused my anthropogenic climate change. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • MS-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
      • MS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
      • HS-LS4-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
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