Skeletons Reveal Human and Chimpanzee Evolution
This interactive module sheds light on the evolutionary history of humans by comparing the features of a prehistoric primate skeleton to those of modern primates.
To determine evolutionary relationships among organisms, both living and extinct, scientists can compare DNA sequences, physiology, and anatomy. For example, scientists have used the bone structures of fossil specimens to reconstruct the path of human evolution. In this Click & Learn, students explore the evolutionary relationships among modern humans, modern chimpanzees, and a prehistoric primate named Ardipithecus ramidus. They examine a 4.4-million-year-old fossilized A. ramidus skeleton, nicknamed Ardi, and compare three of its key features — teeth, pelvis, and feet — with those of humans and chimpanzees.
The accompanying worksheet guides students’ exploration.
Student Learning Targets
Make claims about evolutionary relationships based on anatomical evidence from skeletons.
anatomy, bipedalism, bone, common ancestor, evolutionary tree, foot, fossil, hip, hominin, Laetoli
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1.N, EVO-3.B, EVO-3.C, EVO-3.E
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.H, SP2
Vision and Change (2009)