Alabama is updating its science standards to require that students understand evolution and learn about climate change.

Educators say the new rules don't require that students in the Bible Belt state believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally.

However, students will be required to understand the theory of evolution starting next year. Teachers will address climate change, which wasn't a focus in the state's previous, decade-old standards.

The state school board approved the new standards unanimously late last week.


An expert on dinosaur fossils will speak at the University of Alabama Thursday night.  It’s part of a lecture series on evolution called ALLELE.  Emory professor Anthony Martin will talk about what dinosaur fossils can teach us about evolution.  He studies what are called trace fossils.

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He doesn’t get as much attention as Charles Darwin.  But the work of Alfred Russel Wallace is perhaps just as important in building evidence for the theory of evolution through natural selection.  A talk Thursday night at the University of Alabama will focus on Wallace’s work.  Dr. James Costa is a biology professor at Western Carolina University.  He helped publish one of Wallace’s field notebooks that he says suggests his discovery wasn’t just an accident, as some have speculated.  He’ll be highlighting that work for his audience.