Explore Your Inner Animals
This interactive module explores different anatomical features of the human body and what they reveal about the evolutionary history of humans.
A close look at the human body reveals structures that evolved from common ancestors shared with other animals, including long-extinct species. For example, the pattern of the bones in human arms can be traced back to fossilized fish that lived when life first made the transition from water to land. Other structures that were present in early human ancestors have only vestigial forms in modern humans. The tailbone, for example, is all that’s left of an ancestral tail. This Click & Learn allows students to explore these and many other features — and compare them to those of fossilized organisms, such as Ardipithecus (Ardi), Gorgonopsid, Notharctus, Proconsul, Tiktaalik — to discover the evolutionary history of our bodies.
The accompanying worksheet guides students’ exploration.
Student Learning Targets
Describe the anatomical features in human bodies that reveal human evolutionary history.
adaptation, amphioxus, ancestry, common ancestor, fossil, primate, skeleton, tetrapod, transitional form, vertebrate
HS-LS4-1, HS-LS4-4; SEP6
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1.M, EVO-1.N, EVO-3.A, SYI-3.D; SP1, SP2
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.H, SP2
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)