This resource is an interactive documentary that tells the story of our origins and is divided into five sections: Prologue, Evidence, Anatomy, Lineages, and Culture. You can click on “Becoming Human, the Documentary” on the left side of the main page. Then you can click on “Begin the Program” to view the Prologue. In the next four sections, you can click on “play the documentary” to review each section. The Evidence section reviews how scientists locate, analyze, and interpret fossil evidence. The Anatomy section explores the changing physiology of our ancestors and reviews the unique physical traits that define us as human. The Lineages section takes you through the evolutionary journeys of our ancestors and reviews how humans are the only surviving branch of a diverse family tree. The last section, Culture, reviews how an advanced culture helps humans understand ourselves, each other, and our place in the natural world.
At the top of the screen, you can click on the Features section to go to an interactive timline of human lineage. You also can go to the Learning Center to access some games and activities that add understanding to some of the concepts of human evolution.
This site has an unbelievable amount of information. It is a great resource to utilize when reviewing evolution. The site also provides a great opportunity to challenge students to do some critical thinking while improving their writing skills. Have them type a five-page report on an approved topic, making sure they discuss the scientific evidence—whether genetic, anatomical, or other—and how that evidence has led to the conclusions concerning human ancestry presented in the website. Advanced students may wish to include information on the latest research into evolutionary mechanisms, including genetic isolation, environmental changes (including catastrophes), and how viruses may introduce novel genetic material into a genome.
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