Chapter 8 presents the third theoretical unit. Important, basic insights into human origins are anchored in the discipline of paleontology.
Along with chapter 3, Timeline D, needs to be studied; this is the timeline of chimpanzees that walk upright (the future humans). The importance of this timeline is that it shows the skulls of human ancestors, collected since Dubois (1891), photographed and presented in their actual size in Johanson and Edgar’s book (1996), and gives an impressive sense of the circumstances in which earlier human populations lived. This timeline can be used to illustrate the continuity of existence of human populations from the past to the present. Based on the skulls, different populations are presented in lines. This timeline presents about 140 skulls and helps us to follow contemporary paleontological discussions. The points of evolutionary change are clear and allow the student to see: possible connections with future populations; the emigration of certain populations to other continents and the possible return of some of them to Africa; the density of distinct populations during the last million years; and, the complexity of circumstances that have faced human beings during the last two hundred thousand years. We can speculate about the possible future of human populations on the basis of this history.
Realizing that their own lives are a link in the continuous chain of existence of the human species will be a significant insight for adolescents.
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