This activity explores an image of fossil footprints at Laetoli, which serves as a phenomenon for learning about fossil evidence and human evolution.
Laetoli, a paleontological site in Tanzania, is famous for its fossil footprints of hominins: a taxonomic group that includes humans and their extinct ancestors. The image shows hominin footprints discovered at Laetoli in 2015. Fossil footprints like these can be used to infer biological information about the organisms that made them.
The “Educator Materials” document includes background information and implementation suggestions for using the image as a phenomenon. The “Student Handout” includes the image and background information.
Student Learning Targets
• Examine images of phenomena, make observations, and ask questions.
• Collaborate with peers on ideas, ask questions that require higher levels of reasoning, and develop deeper understanding of concepts.
• Use fossil evidence to infer biological information about early human ancestors.
anthropology, bipedalism, hominin, human origins, Mary Leakey, paleontology, trace fossil
Masao, Fidelis T., Elgidius B. Ichumbaki, Marco Cherin, Angelo Barili, Giovanni Boschian, Dawid A. Lurino, Sofia Menconero, et al. “New footprints from Laetoli (Tanzania) provide evidence for marked body size variation in early hominins.” eLife 5 (2016). https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.19568.
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EVO-1.M, EVO-1.N; SP3