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Pre-History: The Origins of Humans

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Lissa Murray

on 15 April 2015

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Transcript of Pre-History: The Origins of Humans

Pre-History: The Origins of Humans
Charles Darwin the the Theory
of Evolution
*his 1859 work, The Origin of Species, he gave prominence to the theory that plant and animal life developed gradually and challenged traditional religious beliefs about creationism in which God created all living things

*species adapted to their environment over time; individuals with more useful traits, survived and reproduced, passing those traits on--"natural selection"

*since Darwin, the credibility of evolution has been provided by fossil evidence and the science of genetics
*human development is traced through many species; first human-like creatures are known as HOMINIDS

* they walked on two feet and had bigger brains

*appeared over 4 million years ago

*understanding of human evolution is constantly changing as new fossils showing different species continue to be discovered
The Physical Evolution of Humans
Homo Habilis

*first hominids to create and use tools made from stone ("handy man")

Homo Erectus
*walked completely upright ; had larger brains capable of judgment and perception, speech, sharp-focussing eyes, free-moving arms and hands
*hunted and gathered plants; tools of stone, bones, and wood
*first to use fire and to spread from Africa into Asia and Europe

Homo Sapiens

500 000 years ago
*"man who thinks"; more advanced tools, spoken language
*two types: Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons (modern human ancestors) replaced all earlier hominids by 40 000 BCE
*flourished for 200 000 years in Europe while modern humans were still evolving in Africa
*likely descended from Homo erectus who migrated from Africa around
1 m yrs ago
*disappeared...disease? unable to compete with modern humans? ice age?
*limited interbreeding with homo sapiens migrating from Africa; 1-4% of modern European and Asian genes are from Neanderthals
The Human Family Tree Part 1:
5 million-2 million BCE

Australopithecus afarensis: "Lucy"
*1974 at Hadar, Ethiopia, Donald Johanson finds 3.2 million year old fossils of female hominid
*first identification of a species that may have survived almost 900 000 years; at the time, thought to be earliest common ancestor of humans
*other fossils of same species revealed brains one third the size of modern humans
TASK: Using your text pp. 11-14, describe the physical traits and likely behaviours of Australopithecus afarensis.
The Family Tree Part 2: The Old and Middle Stone Age 2.5 million-8000 BCE
(Paleolithic and Mesolithic)
CRO MAGNON MAN(modern humans)
*moved into Europe 40 000 years ago as they developed ability to endure colder climate
*more advanced tools than Neanderthal
*also moved through Asia and to Australia
*crossed Bering Strait into Alaska 30 000 years ago
TASK: Read pp. 18-21 in your text and answer the following questions:
1. Explain the ways in which Old Stone Age humans were social, and the importance of this socialization.
2. How did language develop for Homo sapiens and why was it important?
3. "Fire was the most significant technological development in early human history". Support or refute this statement.
TASK: Read about The Scopes "Monkey Trial" on p. 9 of your text.
Summarize what the case was about, its outcome,
and its significance.

6 m years ago 5 m 4.5 m 3.2 m 2. 2 m 1.5 m 500 000 yrs. 40 000 yrs

approx. time when ape and Afdipithecus kadabba Australopithecus Australopithecus Homo habilis Homo erectus Homo sapiens modern humans
human anamensis afarensis ("Lucy") ("handy man") (homo neanderthalesis & (Homo sapiens sapiens)
lines diverged homo sapiens archaic--Cro Magnon)
*their brains were 1/3 the size of ours; arms were long and powerful; toes and fingers were curved; they walked upright
but could climb trees (they may have slept there for safety)

*no stone tools or weapons so they were more likely to be preyed on rather than to prey themselves

*probably travelled in groups of 25-30, living in forests
Australopithecus afarensis "Lucy"
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