Animal Evolution Workshop

Animal Evolution Workshop

Activity designed for post-compulsory secondary school students.

Students will work on the changes experienced by living beings over time through the complete collection of animals at our Barcelona Zoo.

The collection at the Zoo allows representatives from the different families to be studied, from the most ancient to the most evolved. This lets them become aware that they belong to the animal world and about the origin and value of biological diversity.


When the workshop finishes, the group can spend the rest of the day at the Zoo, until closing time.

Duration: 2 hours

Start time: 10.00 am – 12.00 am – 2.00 pm

To get the most out of the Animal Evolution Workshop, we suggest studying the following aspects at school before the visit:


To understand the students’ interests and increase motivation about the animals: 

  • Look for information about fossil.
  • Realise that evolution expresses individual conditioning to population dynamics.
  • Have a debate on the topic ‘Man comes from monkeys’: analyse the genetic proximity of the different species of primates (students can consult the sheets on gorillasdrillsorang-utanslemurs), look for information about the discoveries of the Atapuerca archaeological site and information about research into the human genome, etc , ).


To observe animals: 

  • Visit the Museum of Palaeontology in Sabadell.
  • Visit the Zoology Museum and Geology Museum.
  • Go to observe fossils, for example in the Sau marshlands.


As specific objectives:

  • Introduce the concepts of mutation, natural selection, adaptive convergence and adaptive divergence.
  • Study the formation and separation of the continents to explain the current distribution of animal species.
  • Teach the importance of fossils to be able to study the evolution of the species.
  • Describe the category of biological species.

The Animal Evolution Workshop reveals the mechanisms through which populations adapt to environmental conditions.


  1. Using slides, introduction to the concepts of extinction of species, proof of existence and disappearance, mutation, natural selection, adaptive convergence and adaptive divergence.  
  2. Guided tour by a Zoo educator (biologist) of the Zoo to learn more about the following contents:  
    • Evolution mechanisms: examples of natural and artificial selection. Proof of the existence of evolution in pachyderms (elephants) and perissodactyla (zebras, tapirs, rhinoceroses).
    • Adaptation of animals to aquatic life: dolphins, sea lions and penguins. 
    • Adaptation to land locomotion: reduction in the number of toes (deer), retractable nails, (tiger), lengthened limbs (black-faced impala), prehensile limbs (spider monkey). 
    • The primates as our closest relatives: great genetic similarity between homidae (gorilla, chimpanzee and orang-utan) and humans.

Suggestions for activities to do after the Animal Evolution Workshop:  


Natural sciences space:    

  • Make an evolutionary tree of the group that most interested students, among those seen at the Barcelona Zoo. 
  • Do a group project about the evolution of the primates observed at the Zoo.
  • Invent an evolved species using a modern-day species, stating the environmental and climatic determinants of the new situation. 
  • Describe the situation in which modern species will be found within a thousand years if measures are not taken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. 
  • Describe the situation in which primates (cotton-top tamarin) and other tropical species (hyacinth macaw, Hawaiian goose, Sumatra tiger, Lowland anoa, Asian elephan) will be found within a thousand years if measures are not taken to stop the deforestation of their habitats. 


Evaluation of learning obtained: 

  • Prepare a project on what students learned about evolution mechanisms of living beings after the Animal Evolution Workshop.
  • Prepare an article about the adaptive strategies of:
    • The human species.
    • Grey rats. 
    • Elephants.



Education in favour of the environment. 


Living organisms.  



With respect to knowledge, facts and ideas:  

  • Overview of the great diversity and adaptability of this order of mammals. 
  • Learn to classify the main groups with the assistance of dichotomic keys to the family level. 
  • Differentiate the wide range of adaptations of primates’ limbs according to the way they move in their habitats.
  • Distinguish primates according to their craniums. 
  • Observe the behaviours and types of social organisations of the primate species at the Zoo. 

Content of the procedures:   Organisation of individual and group tasks.

  • Thorough observation of the animals and correct interpretation of what they saw. 
  • Deduction of concepts and drawing of hypotheses using the knowledge acquired. 
  • Summarise and draw conclusions. 

Attitudes, values and norms: 

  • To foster participative and orderly behaviour during group activities. 
  • To become aware of the problem of primates and to realise their importance. 
  • To foster respect for animals through being better informed. 
  • To become aware that the human race belongs to the animal kingdom. 
  • To become aware of the value of biodiversity.

Small group: 234 € (until 21 students) each additional student until 25, the price are 8,15 € for student. The free teachers


Big Group: 267 € (until 29 students) each additional student until 30, the price are 8,15 € for student. The free teachers

Department of Education
Pg. Circumval.lació, 3, 08003 Barcelona 

Information and bookings: T. 932 256 787. From Monday to Thursday from 9:00am to 02:00pm and from 02:00pm to 04:30pm. Friday from 09:00am to 01:30pm

Information: T. 937 065 656 from 09:00am to 08:00pm