Human Fossil Record Report

Please complete all sections of this report template and submit to your online assignments folder by the due date. Provide a bibliographic list of all sources (including our course materials) used to complete your report.

Part I. Comparing hominids (hominins)

  • Select five of the following fossil forms of early humans (or human ancestors):
    • Ardipithecus ramidus
    • Australopithecus anamensis
    • Australopithecus afarensis
    • Australopithecus sediba
    • Paranthropus boisei
    • Homo erectus
    • Homo heidelbergensis
    • Homo neanderthalensis

For your selected fossil species, complete the Comparison Chart. Please include genus and species names; time frame and geographic region for fossil species. For each of your selected fossil species, please summarize the 3 physical characteristic categories and 1 cultural category.

Comparison Chart

Selected speciesGenus and speciesTime frame and geographic area (continent) where foundPhysical characteristic: Brain size (cranial capacity)Physical characteristic: Specialized skull and anatomical featuresPhysical characteristic: Height and weightCultural characteristics: Tools or tool use or other evidence of culture
Species 1              
Species 2              
Species 3              
Species 4              
Species 5              

Note: You may not have evidence for all categories of data for each of these hominins.  Where data are absent, simply leave the space blank or note that so far nothing has been found. You may also wish to include other categories of comparison in your chart. Make sure that you cite all sources (including your course materials) used to prepare your fossil comparison chart and include in your bibliographic list of sources at end of your report.

Part II.  Evolutionary Relationships of Hominin Species

  • Time Order: List the order (or time sequence) in which your 5 selected fossil hominin species appear in the fossil record. Using the phylogenies presented in our textbook, describe the evolutionary relationships of each species to modern humans.
  • Based on the fossil evidence, did more than one kind of hominin live on earth at the same time? We are currently the only type (species) of human on the planet, but has it always been this way? Use your 5 fossil selections to support your answer.
  • How does the hominid (hominin) fossil record show “mosaic evolution”? Define the term and provide an example from hominin fossil record. If possible, use example(s) from your 5 fossil selections to support your answer.

Part III: Conclusions  and Reflections

  • Trends and Patterns: Summarize major pattern or trend in physical traits of hominids (hominins) seen in the current fossil record. Summarize major pattern or trend in cultural traits (e.g., tools) of hominids (hominins) seen in the current fossil record.
  • New Fossil Finds;   How do new fossil finds expand or redefine our understanding of human evolution? Use example of new paleoanthropological finds (e.g., “Hobbits” of Flores) to support your answer.

Part IV: Bibliography

  • Please list all sources used to prepare this report (including course materials, internet sites, etc). Present in APA style.