The Human Species in Transition  --  A Lab on Human Evolution


The inquiry-based "The Human Species in Transition" lab has students investigate 5 physical traits of our body in order to discover how specific traits vary across populations, and how they have changed over time due to certain evolutionary pressures. In certain cases, e.g. jaw vs. wisdom teeth, female pelvis vs. prenatal brain, or hair follicles vs. sweat glands, over generations traits have been in competition. In other cases, traits -- such as the palmaris longus muscle in the forearm or auriculares muscles surrounding the ear -- are (becoming) vestigial. Using their own bodies as a point of reference, students may better relate the material to their own experience and deepen their understanding of evolutionary dynamics fundamental to the theory of evolution.


1. Instructor Curriculum

2. ppt version of lab (in development)  


Materials needed

a.      set of 6 hominin skulls (Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Australopithecus afarensis, and Ardipithecus ramidus)

         ---> either 3D print, buy, borrow or steal the skulls

b.      tape measure (soft tape measure)

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