Becoming Human an Interactive Documentary

Becoming Human an Interactive Documentary

  1. When and where was Lucy discovered? How old is Lucy? What species is she? Why was the discovery of the Lucy fossil so important? Lucy was discovered in Hadar Ethiopia in 1974. Lucy is about 3.2 million years old and she was a female hominid. This discovery was very important because it taught us a lot about closer and common ancestors and a lot more about human evolution.
  2. What is a hominid? A hominid is a creature that can stand and move upright.
  3. What impacts did a changing environment on earth have on hominids? What was the environment like towards the end of the Miocene (10 to 5 million years ago)? What were some consequences of this? The environment was very warm it seemed during this time period. It made it very hard for hominids to live and thus making it harder to evolve in a sense. Although at the end of this era the main ancestors of humans had been split away from ancestors of chimps to follow their own evolutionary path.
  4. Who is our closest living relative? Does this mean we evolved from this species?  Why is the “missing link” concept between humans and apes living today a false idea? Our closest relative is the African Chimp. It does not mean we evolved from them even though we share 98% of their genes but, it does mean that we both shared a common ancestor. The missing link idea is false because most people believe that all humans evolved right from these African Chimps.
  5. What is bipedalism? What is its importance in hominid evolution? Bipedalism is the ability a hominid carries that allows them to walk and function like a human. Its importance with hominid’s is walking. In the documentary the narrator goes into detail about the structure of the human foot and the structure of a chimps foot. He explains its important our toes are all in line because it enables us to be able to propel and walk forward. The more bidpelism a species holds the more evolution can occur.
  6. What is the Turkana boy fossil and why was he important? Describe some of its anatomical features. What is his age? What did he eat? The turkana boy fossil was a homo erectus fossil and was one of the most complete fossils ever found. He was 9 years old and was 5 foot 4 inches but if he reached to be an adult he would of been 6 feet tall. He ate things like animals and certain types of meat.
  7. What are some similarities and differences between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens? Their are various similarities and differences. One thing we share is we both have a brain but our brain is slightly bigger than a home ercuts’s. The skeletons of a erectus were larger but they are built just like a homo sapiens.
  8. Why did Homo erectus leave Africa and populate other areas of the globe? The homo erectus did this because it needed to push away from its ancestral range and ancestral homeland. Its not a migration it is a dispersal of a species. They crossed the threshold into the new world and also spread around an advanced culture.
  9. Carol Ward says that “Selection favored habitually terrestrial bipediality”. What selection pressures favored humans walking on the ground over swinging in trees? One could be a need for food. At times food would not always be in tress so those early hominids or chimps would start to knuckle walk and look for food on smaller trees or even the ground. Overall it was the environment and forests that kind of forced us to develop bidpredlism. Without it we would never make it as a species.
  10. What is the major question about the evolutionary relationship between Neanderthals and modern humans? Explain the different ideas/conflicts about this. Compare the ideas of Paleoanthropologists Ian Tattersall and Cathy Willermet. The major question is if they were one of our direct ancestors or were they a side branch that went extinct without contributing any of their genes to the modern human. Tattersall says this question is easily answered with the facial structure of them both. The neanderthalensis skull is longer and a little more wider than a homo sapiens. Also it is stated that there was no conflict between the 2 species and there is no proof of it. Another thing we shared was we bury our dead and we both know how to use fire. Lastly it was almost confirmed that neanderthals went extinct and had nothing to do with us humans. This was pulled from 4 DNA tests and it showed us that the DNA’s were nothing alike.
  11. Africa was the only place that human evolution took place for the first three or four million years of hominid existence. The first species to spread into new continents was Homo erectus.  There are different theories about how our species, sapiens, spread across the globe.  Compare the Out of Africa theory to the Multiregional theory of modern human evolution and dispersal. Both of these theories share the same general idea but differ in a way. They both agree that the homo erectus originated from Africa and expanded to Eurasia. Where they differentiate is when they address modern humans (homo sapiens). One states that a second migration outside of africa happened about 100,000 years ago and these modern african humans conquered the world. The other theory argues that gene flow from different species was how homo sapiens came about. If I were to agree with one theory I would side to multi regional theory.
  12. Scientists have discovered and investigated finger engravings in Australia, 24,000 years ago. What might these findings mean for human evolution?  What can we learn from studying people still living today, such as the Aboriginal people? The finger engravings really caught my eye. It meant that the hominids at that time that made those finger engravings in that cave could wrap their heads around certain concepts and it meant there was a dawn of conciseness which is really cool to think about and see. From what we saw in the Culture tab the Aboriginal people valued fertility and that is what they drew most of the time. They drew women and this tells us about the land around them. It was very fertile land and a luscious environment to live in.
  13. Building shelters, hunting, tool making, controlling fire, language, wearing clothing, burying the dead, making art- all of these give us clues to our early cultural evolution. How can studying our past cultural evolution help us determine what our place is (or should be) in nature today? With studying the past culture like this you can for sure get a better perspective of how humans and hominids have evolved alongside culture. After reading this whole documentary it is certain that as hominids and our species evolve more, so does culture and many different changes happen within it. We become better at certain things and learn new strategies to complete a task in a more efficient manner than before. My point is when studying the past it shows how our culture has changed immensely and benefits us more and more as it advances.
  14. Explain whether thinking about the evolution of hominid species alters the way you think about human beings in general or yourself. I would say it alters how I think about humans as a species in general. I say this because everyone that is living on planet earth all have something in common but at the same time live completely different lives. And at the end of the day we are all one species. But its very cool to wonder “where did I come from” and “what was I before this”. Those were some of the questions I was asking my self while I was watching and listening to this documentary. It was very interesting to see how hominids became a species and eventually evolved into us humans. I do believe this is a topic you could dive very deeply into but I am trying my best to avoid that. Overall I truly believe we are all the same and when posed with this question you should answer like I did and think about humans in general. I don’t think its valid to say it changes the way you think about your self in a evolution sense because realistically we all came from the same place at one point. That sounds like a stretch but I hope you understand what I am trying to get at and prove here.

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