Fossils that Change Everything We Know About Human Evolution (...Or Not)
Dramatic headlines touting new fossil discoveries often proclaim that our view of human evolution has been revolutionized. While this is occasionally the case, it is more often true that new fossils enrich our understanding of our own ancestry or answer scientific questions that could not be resolved with previous data. Even spectacular new discoveries, such as the now famous “hobbit” skeleton (Homo floresiensis), can usually be included in the human family tree without any significant change in the inferences about the phylogenetic relationships or taxonomic status of the rest of its members. It is a testament to the power of evolutionary theory and the careful comparative study of human and other fossils that what we know about human evolution changes so little, even when spectacular new discoveries are announced.
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- From Andrew J. Petto at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Surprise! A new hominin fossil changes... almost nothing!: a lesson on phylogenetic analysis based on cladograms using hominin fossil data: http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/a_garhi_lesson.pdf
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- Lesson plans for teachers: http://humanorigins.si.edu/education/lesson
- From the Public Broadcasting System. Resources for teachers: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/educators/index.html
- Fossils that Change Everything We Know About Human Evolution (...Or Not)
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Volume 3, Issue 3 , pp 477-480
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- Human evolution
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