A Science Odyssey Human Evolution

drawings of human ancestors Go directly to Human Evolution activity
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When did humans evolve? Who are our ancestors? Why did we evolve?

At the turn of the century, scientists could only dream about finding the answers to these questions. The fossilized remains of a species known as Neanderthal had been found, and there was a primitive, human-like skull that had been discovered in Indonesia. Beyond that, there was little hard evidence to work with.

With the 1912 "discovery" of the Piltdown Man, the study of human evolution was sent down a wrong track. When the phony Piltdown Man, with its human skull and orangutan's jaw, was finally exposed in 1953, the pieces of the great puzzle began to fall into place. With the experts' opinions no longer skewed, the relationship between the real fossils started to make sense.

There have been many discoveries, and much has been learned about the human odyssey over the past few decades. Many questions, however, still remain.

This activity shows the major hominid (human or human-like) species discovered to date, when they lived, and how they might be related to each other.


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