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In Search of Human Origins, Part II

Viewing Ideas

Before Watching

  1. For anthropologists, fossil bones offer a wealth of information. Have the students compare the bones of different animals, such as those of a chicken, rabbit, or cat. Use pictures from encyclopedias or obtain real or plastic bones. What are the similarities and differences between arms and wings? How does the human leg compare to a horse's leg? What bones do humans stand on? What bones do horses stand on?

  2. Present the following scenario to students: An anthropologist has found a large number of stone tools, and nearby a large number of animal bones. These artifacts and fossils date to approximately 2 million years ago. There are no fossils of any hominids found at the site. Ask for students' ideas about what happened at this site two million years ago. As they watch, encourage them to find the answers in the program.

After Watching

  1. In this series, scientists explore the "big" questions about early humans and their evolutionary development. The "small" questions, such as details of everyday life, are not the major focus of the program. Based on what they have observed from the series so far, have students imagine a day in the life of an early hominid. What happened to individuals who were injured? What did their food taste like? When and where did they sleep? Encourage the class to contact the anthropology or archeology department at a local university for answers to these questions, or invite an expert to speak to the class.

  2. Hold up a chicken bone or a human-bone replica and ask students what they think the bone could be used for. Place a picture of a human skeleton at the front of the class and display six or more tools (screwdriver, hammer, awl, saw, etc.) along a table. Which tools function like parts of the body? Which bones could function like some tools?

Teacher's Guide
In Search of Human Origins, Part II

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