Becoming Human

Objective: Students will understand the process that is used to collect fossils and determine relationships among extinct species with a focus on the evolution of the hominid species. The video can be watched as a class or as an individual activity at home or in the computer lab.

Instructions: Access the website at www.becominghuman.org. Each section of this activity requires you to visit one of the areas at the site, watch video clips and explore multimedia.

Notice the top menu bar which has the listing of the areas:
| Prologue | Evidence | Anatomy | Lineages | Culture |

You can use these links to easily navigate to the different sections.



1. After watching the video in the prologue, list three questions you have about human evolution.



2. Where is Hadar and why is it significant?


3. Why was the 3.2 milion year old hominid fossil found in Hadar called "Lucy"?


4. What is a paleoecologist?


( Use the menu at the bottom titled "Related Exhibits" to access the exhibits related to evidence. The answers to the following questions can be found within the exhibits, you may have to search for them, the words in bold may give you clues about where to search. )

Evidence - Related Exhibits

5. The scientific method begins with an observation, information drawn from these observations rests on the principles of scientific thinking. What are the 3 principles of scientific thinking?


6. Finding fossils can be difficult, name 4 locations on the earth where significant hominid fossil finds occur.


7. When a fossil is found, profiling can be done to answer questions about the organism. How do scientists determine:

The species -

The age -

The sex -

The health -


8 What is the closest living relative to the human?


9. What is a common ancestor?


10. How does the human foot compare to the foot of a chimanzee?


11. How does the skull of homo erectus compare to the skull of homo sapiens


Anatomy - Related Exhibits

12. Humans are like other primates in many ways. Name two similarities between humans and other primates.


13. Bipedalism requires anatomical changes in bone structure to allow walking upright. Name one difference between the skeleton of a chimpanzee and a human that aids humans in walking upright.



14. Where are most neanderthal fossils found?

15. How did the face of neanderthals differ from modern humans?

16. Suggest one reason why neanderthals became extinct.


Lineages - Related Links

17 What is the Missing Link and why is it not an accurate term for hominid evolution?

18. How humans populated the globe is a question among paleoanthroplogists. Compare the "Out of Africa Theory" to the "Multiregional Theory"

19. How does evolution explain the diversity of people throughout the world, like types of skin color?