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  • Patterns in the Distribution of Lactase Persistence

    Patterns in the Distribution of Lactase Persistence

    Activity

    Students explore the geographic distribution of lactase persistence around the world by analyzing real data collected by scientists.

  • Understanding Variation

    Understanding Variation

    Activity

    This lesson complements the film The Biology of Skin Color and discusses variation in human skin color and polygenic inheritance. Also available in Spanish.

  • Zebrafish and Skin Color

    Zebrafish and Skin Color

    Activity

    This lesson complements the film The Biology of Skin Color and explores how experimental work in zebrafish led to a better understanding of the role of the gene SLC24A5 in human skin color.

  • Lactase Film with Quiz

    Lactase Film with Quiz

    Interactive Video

    (14 min 52 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch a short film that explores the evolution of the ability to digest lactose as adults (lactose tolerance) and the genetic changes associated with the trait.

  • Skin Color Interactive Video

    Skin Color Interactive Video

    Interactive Video

    (18 min 58 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch a short film that explores the evidence for the evolution of the variation in skin color among human populations.

  • Origin of Humans with Quiz

    Origin of Humans with Quiz

    Interactive Video

    (19 min 44 sec) Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch a short film on the major human fossil finds from Africa  and what they reveal about the history of our evolutionary origins.

  • Animated Life: Mary Leakey

    Animated Life: Mary Leakey

    Animated Short

    (7 min 52 sec) This animated short film recounts the life and work of paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, including her discovery of the Laetoli footprints.

  • Human Skin Color: Evidence for Selection

    Human Skin Color: Evidence for Selection

    Activity

    This case study is based on the short film The Biology of Skin Color. Students use real data to propose hypotheses, make predictions, and justify claims with evidence. Also available in Spanish.

  • How We Get Our Skin Color Interactive

    How We Get Our Skin Color Interactive

    Interactive Video

    (3 min 32 sec) This interactive animation about the biology of skin color provides stop points at which students can further explore the material through additional text and illustrations, videos, questions, and simple interactive widgets.

  • Human Feet Are Strange

    Human Feet Are Strange

    Activity

    In this hands-on activity students examine the evidence for the evolution of human bipedality as revealed by a trail of fossil footprints. Also available in Spanish.

  • Film Guide for The Biology of Skin Color

    Film Guide for The Biology of Skin Color

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement The Biology of Skin Color. Featuring anthropologist Dr. Nina Jablonski, the film walks us through the evidence that differences in human skin color are adaptations to varying intensity of UV light. Also available in Spanish.

  • Lactase Persistence: Evidence for Selection

    Lactase Persistence: Evidence for Selection

    Activity

    This activity provides a case study in human evolution that connects genotype, phenotype, culture, and graphical analysis skills. Also available in Spanish.

  • The Making of the Fittest

    The Making of the Fittest

    Collection

    Each film takes students on an adventure—from the postglacial lakes in southern Alaska to the deserts of the American Southwest, and from the icy Antarctic to the highlands of East Africa,...

  • Film Guide: Your Inner Fish

    Film Guide: Your Inner Fish

    Film Guide

    This guide complements the three-part television series Your Inner Fish. This series describes the legacy of our ancient animal ancestors and the evidence of their relationship to us.

  • Episode 3: Your Inner Monkey

    Episode 3: Your Inner Monkey

    Feature Film

    (54 min 51 sec) Join Neil Shubin as he links our hands, vision, and brains to ancient primate ancestors. PLEASE N​OTE: Due to international distribution restrictions, these programs can only be streamed in the United States and Canada.

  • The Biology of Skin Color

    The Biology of Skin Color

    Short Film

    (18 min 58 sec) Penn State University anthropologist Dr. Nina Jablonski walks us through the evidence that the different shades of skin color among human populations arose as adaptations to the intensity of ultraviolet radiation in different parts of the world. Also available in Spanish.

  • The Tool-Making Animal

    The Tool-Making Animal

    Scientists at Work

    (5 min 41 sec) Stone tools reveal a critical transition in the lives of our early human ancestors. 

  • Film Guides: The Origin of Humans

    Film Guides: The Origin of Humans

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans, which reveals the history of our evolutionary origins. Also available in Spanish.

  • Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans

    Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans

    Short Film

    (19 min 44 sec) Which traits distinguish humans from other primates? When and where did these traits evolve? Analysis of the major fossil finds from Africa, dating back to 4.4 million years ago, provides answers to these questions and reveals the history of our evolutionary origins. Also available in Spanish.

  • Piecing Together Our Past

    Piecing Together Our Past

    Image of the Week

    The skull of Zinjanthropus is one of the first early hominid fossils found in Africa and provides essential clues in the story of human evolution.

  • Holding on to Your Mother

    Holding on to Your Mother

    Image of the Week

    Infant lemurs hitch a ride through the forest by holding on to their mother’s tummy or riding piggyback.

  • Grasping Your Inner Monkey

    Grasping Your Inner Monkey

    Image of the Week

    The shape of our hands comes from tree-dwelling ancestors.

  • Explore Your Inner Animals

    Explore Your Inner Animals

    Click & Learn

    This interactive explores different anatomical features of the human body and what they reveal about the evolutionary history we share with other organisms, including earlier, long-extinct species.

  • See Your Inner Primate

    See Your Inner Primate

    Image of the Week

    The eye of a chimpanzee views the world in living color.

  • Teacher Guide: Evolution

    Teacher Guide: Evolution

    Teacher Guide

    Topics include: natural selection, artificial selection, population genetics, human adaptations and evolution, and phylogenetics.

  • The Making of the Fittest: Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture

    The Making of the Fittest: Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture

    Short Film

    (14 min 52 sec) Follow human geneticist Spencer Wells, Director of the Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society, as he tracks down the genetic changes associated with the ability to digest lactose as adults. Also available in Spanish.

  • Using the Scientific Process to Study Human Evolution

    Using the Scientific Process to Study Human Evolution

    Click & Learn

    Paleoanthropology provides an excellent example of the scientific process at work. Also available in Spanish.

  • Regulation of the Lactase Gene

    Regulation of the Lactase Gene

    Click & Learn

    Lactase persistence results from a mutation that changes how transcription factors interact, thereby affecting gene expression.

  • Recent Adaptations in Humans

    Recent Adaptations in Humans

    Click & Learn

    Lactose tolerance, sickle cell anemia, and bitter taste perception are three examples of recently evolved human traits.

  • Skeletons Reveal Human and Chimpanzee Evolution

    Skeletons Reveal Human and Chimpanzee Evolution

    Click & Learn

    Comparing features of a 4.4-million-year-old fossil skeleton to those of human and chimpanzee skeletons sheds light on our evolutionary history.

  • The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans

    The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans

    Short Film

    (14 min 3 sec) In some parts of the world, there is an intimate connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia. Also available in Spanish

  • Human Evolution Within the Tree of Life

    Human Evolution Within the Tree of Life

    Poster

    The poster from the 2011 Holiday Lectures on Science, Bones, Stones and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans. It provides a unique look at the classic "tree of life" and features a timeline of various hominid fossils and their stone tool usage.

  • Film Guides: Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture

    Film Guides: Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture, which tells the story of the evolution of the ability to digest lactose, a genetic trait that arose in humans within the last 10,000 years in some pastoralist cultures.

  • Film Guides: Natural Selection in Humans

    Film Guides: Natural Selection in Humans

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans, which describes the connection between malaria and sickle cell anemia—one of the best-understood examples of natural selection in humans. Also available in Spanish.

  • Film Guides: Natural Selection and Adaptation

    Film Guides: Natural Selection and Adaptation

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation, which describes the physical and genetic evolutionary changes in rock pocket mouse populations. Also available in Spanish.

  • Genetics of Bitter Taste Perception

    Genetics of Bitter Taste Perception

    Lecture

    (50 min 39 sec) How humans perceive bitter taste, and the evolution of taste perception.

  • Hominid Paleobiology

    Hominid Paleobiology

    Lecture

    (1 hr 33 min 25 sec) The hominid fossil record of the past six million years gives us surprising insights into the path of human evolution.

  • Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Behavior

    Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Behavior

    Lecture

    (58 min 31 sec) Stone tools are well-preserved evidence of past human activity.

  • Genetics of Human Origins and Adaptation

    Genetics of Human Origins and Adaptation

    Lecture

    (58 min 31 sec) Genetic evidence shows that humans evolved in Africa and continue to evolve.

  • Human Evolution and the Nature of Science

    Human Evolution and the Nature of Science

    Lecture

    (29 min 1 sec) How reasoning and evidence are used to understand human evolution.

  • Bones, Stones, and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans

    Bones, Stones, and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans

    Lecture

    Where and when did humans arise? What distinguishes us from other species? Did our distant ancestors look and behave like us?

  • Classifying Stone Tools

    Classifying Stone Tools

    Clip

    (3 min 4 sec) Prehistoric stone tools are classified into six broad technological modes by the level of sophistication and method of fabrication.

  • Comparing Human and Chimpanzee Tool Use

    Comparing Human and Chimpanzee Tool Use

    Clip

    (29 sec) Chimpanzees are capable of using rocks as tools to crack nuts for eating. But they don't appear to use sharp-edged tools.

  • Making Stone Tools by Flintknapping

    Making Stone Tools by Flintknapping

    Clip

    (1 min 23 sec) Stone tools similar to those found at prehistoric archaeological sites can be made by fracturing rocks, a technique known as flintknapping.

  • Using DNA to Trace Human Migration

    Using DNA to Trace Human Migration

    Click & Learn

    All living humans originated from populations of ancestors who migrated out of Africa less than 100,000 years ago. Learn how scientists have used genetic markers to trace the migration routes and origins of modern human populations.

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