How Did Our Ancestors Evolve?

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A very quick activity in which you investigate a set of fossils and make assertions about how early humans live. …

A very quick activity in which you investigate a set of fossils and make assertions about how early humans live.

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  • 1. Take a look at the How Did Our Ancestors Evolve images and illustrations worksheet. Imagine you’re on a major archaeological dig and have uncovered these fossils. What do you think the fossils can tell us about early humans? Get with a partner and come up with at least one piece of information we might be able to find out from each fossil. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 6.4 HOW DID OUR ANCESTORS EVOLVE?
  • 2. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 6.4 HOW DID OUR ANCESTORS EVOLVE? Image 1: Homo erectus Homo erectus, sometimes called Homo ergaster, lived between about 1.9 million years ago and 143,000 years ago. The bodies of this species shared the same general proportions as that of humans and study of their teeth has shown that their growth rates were similar to that of the great apes. Homo erectus are thought to be the first human ancestors to have mig- rated out of Africa and there is evidence that they built campfires and made stone tools. Image Sources: © Carolina Biological/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis
  • 3. Image 2: Homo habilis Homo habilis was one of the earliest species of the genus Homo and had a slightly larger braincase than it’s ancestors. Thought to be one of the first species to make stone tools,  Homo habilis had long arms and a face similar to that of its ape ancestors. Image Sources: © Carolina Biological/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 6.4 HOW DID OUR ANCESTORS EVOLVE?
  • 4. Image 3: Dental forensics One of the most important ways that archae- ologists can learn about human ancestors is by studying their fossils and material remains. Looking closely at ancient teeth can help distinguish one species from another and can also reveal important information about diet and lifestyle. Image Sources: © Carolina Biological/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 6.4 HOW DID OUR ANCESTORS EVOLVE?
  • 5. Image 4: Stone tools Acheulean stone tools like these were made by Homo erectus and represent a revolution in tool making some 1.6 million years ago. Our ancestors made the multi-purpose tools (sometimes referred to as hand-axes) by flaking off part of the surface to get a better edge and used the pear-shaped tools for digging, cutting wood or other plant material, and for cutting and skinning game. Image Sources: © Alfredo Dagli Orti/The Art Archive/Corbis BIG HISTORY PROJECT / LESSON 6.4 HOW DID OUR ANCESTORS EVOLVE?