What I am looking for

I'm considering to eventually start my teaching sessions with short emotional, awe-inspiring or exciting videos that are somehow related to evolutionary biology incl. diversity of life, history of evolution on earth, specific evolutionary processes (sexual conflict, evolution of ageing, evolution of mutation rate, speciation rate, ...), diversity in mating systems, major transitions, etc...

3-minute long movies would be perfect. 15 minutes would be too long. The videos should be easily accessible for Bachelor students having little background in evolutionary biology.


Asap Science video about the evolutionary history of life would be a good fit.

The beginning of We are all related by vsauce would be a good fit.

This video from SciShow is typically too long

This video on the evolution of human face would do but I am not quite sure how exact it is and it feels a little weird that the end product is a white male!

It'd be great if not all suggestions were about recent human history or about dinosaurs :)

Do you have any suggestions?

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    $\begingroup$ The question is fine and will likely produce a good resource for the community. $\endgroup$ – AMR Jan 10 '16 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Remi.b I'm curious, is there anything wrong with your first example that you say is a good fit? $\endgroup$ – Insane Jan 11 '16 at 3:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Insane. No, it is a good fit but I am hoping to have several such good fits. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 11 '16 at 5:28
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    $\begingroup$ @James Oh you are right. But I think you can use that video in a productive way. Show it to "inspire" students and then prick the balloon by carefully explaining why the argument is not acceptable to biologists even if it is so seductive. $\endgroup$ – biogirl Jan 12 '16 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest the Stated Clearly channel, but the videos are longer than 3 minutes $\endgroup$ – Bernardo Ramos Jul 23 '17 at 21:39

I saw this HHMI video today. It is called The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace, and it discusses the contributions that Alfred R. Wallace made to evolutionary theory. It is a little long for your stated time of 3-minutes. but it talks about how in fits of malaria he came up with his ideas on evolution.

HHMI also has a whole series of videos and modules on Evolution, though Wallace's came to mind as it showed his ambition and desire to solve the problem, even though he had not received formal training in the sciences.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice video. It is nice also to bring some fame to Wallace and not only to Darwin. I'm looking at the other videos on the website. +1 $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 10 '16 at 20:50

It is not really a video but it is a real life simulation in the browser about vehicles that evolve to master a race track. I project it onto the screen while I introduce genetic algorithms in my data science classes. I then ask people to identify key features of the evolutionary process and we talk about it while the "cars" are still evolving:

People told me that this is really motivating. After that we start programming our first genetic algorithm.

This is a video that I sometimes show additionally (5 min. about robots in an artificial world learning to walk):

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    $\begingroup$ Not quite what I expected but it is nice. I particularly appreciate the evolving car simulator. What population size, type of terrain and mutation rate do you recommend to maximize the speed of improvement? Can you maybe say a word about how you coded the information about the car and how to interpret a mutation? Would be great to have a snapshot of the parent population on the side to understand that we have a population and not just a series of random individuals. +1 $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 10 '16 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b: Thank you, I appreciate your feedback. I have to run now but I will answer your questions later! $\endgroup$ – vonjd Jan 10 '16 at 21:22

https://youtu.be/hOfRN0KihOU Sorry, this video is not short, but perfect. From Kurzgesagt chanel youtube

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I agree Kurzgesagt (a.k.a. In a nutshell) is a great channel. The video is a bit long though (as you said). It is also a little too introductory and too general and not very "emotional, awe-inspiring or exciting". $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 10 '16 at 22:49

BBC and other CG animation programs about Ediacaran life, trilobites, other old life forms, are very engaging to see. There are a lot of CG progams bringing to life ediacaran seas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znO8q5Ht17g

David Attenboroughs CG animation of the chinese microraptor, where it steps out of it's fossil and flies around the room. microraptor chasing other flying reptile:



  • $\begingroup$ I like the David Attenboroughs link! Thanks +1. Note that the last link on 'Microraptor' is in french. Don't remove it but you should probably highlight it in your answer and explain what it is. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 23 '17 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ sry didn't have time to find the original english version.. youtube.com/watch?v=-fyxUxGdrns here it is, first result for "microraptor chase"... it's narrated by john hurt, the recently defunct actor of midnight expess and the storyteller series. $\endgroup$ – com.prehensible Jul 24 '17 at 10:29

Here are a bunch of fun videos about evolution! They might not be very educative at first sight but they might still bring more than just a laugh to students.

MinuteEarth videos

The youtube channel MinuteEarth has plenty of evolution related videos of about 2-6 minutes each. Look for example at

PBS Eons

PBS Eons have a lot of cool videos on the history of life on earth. Videos might be a bit long for your needs though, around 5-10 minutes long on average.

MaxBird feat Jamie

How is evolution often misrepresented

and of course

One can also just type Evolution on google Image to get only this misleading and anthropocentric view of representation of evolution

enter image description here

Why Pokemon evolution is not like evolution in nature


Creationist argument (although this is not really the way the OP wants to go to)

In the category 'Response to creationist argument' it is easy to find funny videos just by showing burlesque creationist argument such as

  • Ray Comfort - banana proves God (from 1'12'' to 2'20 although the whole video is pretty funny). The video mixes up questions of believing in God and of evolution which I don't mean to do myself and could (rightly) be taken as offensive by students so be careful.

This Evo-Devo music video from A Capella Science is very good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydqReeTV_vk&feature=youtu.be

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! The link is already present in my answer though. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Nov 2 '17 at 19:00

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