Share
Explore BrainMass

Human Evolution

(See attached file for full problem description, including diagrams.)

Interpret scientific evidence for human evolution. Identify trends in human biological or cultural evolution.

Question 1.

The diagram below shows a hominid family tree based on DNA similarities. Use this diagram to answer question a.
a) Name the hominid group that is most closely related to humans.
b) Describe how DNA evidence is used to determine evolutionary relationships. (Write at least 4 lines).
c) What does this diagram suggest about the evolutionary relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals? (Write at least 4 lines). The following diagram shows the genetic relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals, based on this DNA analysis.

Question 2.

Study the hominid skulls shown below.
a) Describe two changes to the skull that have occurred in the evolution of modern humans. (Write at least two lines each).
b) For each change, suggest one reason why it has occurred. (Write at least three lines each).
c) Discuss the importance of diet in the evolution of the brain. (Write at least six lines).

Question 3.

In the table below, List A identifies six hominid species while List B contains six statements relating to those species.

List A
1. Australopithecus afarensis
2. Australopithecus africanus
3. Paranthropus robustus
4. Homo habilis
5. Homo erectus
6. Homo neanderthalensis
List B
A. This species had a brain size of about 450 cc, with massive molars and a large jaw.
B. This species almost certainly used fire and was the first to migrate out of Africa.
C. The first fossilized footprints to show evidence of bipedalism were made by this species.
D. This species was extremely intelligent and able to adapt to living in a wide range of climates.
E. A lightly built scavenger living in open woodland and Savannah of Southern African around 3-2mya.
F. Nicknamed "Handy Man". this is the oldest species known to use stone tools.

In the appropriate space below write the letter of the statement from List B that matches the species in List A.

Question 4.

The diagram below shows a commonly accepted model for human evolution. After studying the diagram answer the questions.
a) Complete the following table with the appropriate letter from the time chat diagram.

Name of hominid Letter from diagram
Homo sapiens
Paranthropus robustus
Homo neanderthalensis
Australopithecus africanus
Homo habilis
Australopithecus anamensis
Homo heidelbergensis
Australopithecus boisei

b) For any two of the hominid species listen below, give one significant cultural or biological development that occurred during that species' time span and describe the evolutionary significance the development gave to that species. (Write at least five lines each).

i. Australopithecus anamensis
ii. Homo habilis
iii. Homo erectus
iv. Homo neanderthalensis

Attachments

Solution Preview

Interpret scientific evidence for human evolution
Identify trends in human biological or cultural evolution.

Question 1.

The diagram below shows a hominid family tree based on DNA similarities. Use this diagram to answer question a.

a) Name the hominid group that is most closely related to humans.

Based on this family tree, chimpanzees and bonobos are most closely related to humans. However, chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to each other than either group is to humans. Note: the question calls all of these species "hominids," but some people only use this term to describe humans and their ancestors, and don't use this term to describe the great apes. If you want to use "hominid" to mean great apes, then humans and their ancestors are "hominins."

b) Describe how DNA evidence is used to determine evolutionary relationships. (Write at least 4 lines).

Basically, you compare the DNA of different species...the more similar the DNA, the closer the evolutionary relationship. This is because after one species splits into two, the daughter species do not interbreed any more (or not as much) and can develop genetic mutations and adaptations independently. Soon after the species split, the DNA of the two groups is still very similar. After a long period of evolutionary time, the different mutations build up, and the DNA of the two groups aren't as similar.

The following diagram shows the genetic relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals, based on this DNA analysis.

c) What does this diagram suggest about the evolutionary relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals? ...

$2.19