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S292 Explaining the Emergence of Humans

Starts 1st September 2003


My S292 Blogger

OU S292 Course Description

Course Website

Ancestral Lines

Becoming Human

Hominid Evolution: An Introduction

Talk Origins Fossil Hominids

Journal of Human Evolution

The Tree of Life

Smithsonian Institution Human Origins Program : in search of what makes us human

Many thanks to Mrs Richards' class, Idaho for the following excellent resources:

PBS Evolution: Humans

Archaeological Finds of Early Humans

Humans (

Action Bioscience: Evolution


Back to OU

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This course is about the evolution of the human species and the evidence for human origins. This is a fast-moving area of research, as each new fossil that is discovered adds to our knowledge and may alter the picture we have of the evolution of our ancestors. The course is based on a recent book, Human Evolution - an Illustrated Introduction, and a CD-ROM. It makes use of the internet to guide you to the latest information about the search for fossils.

18th March 2004

Whoo!!!! :)

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11th November

I finished off the ECA last Friday (7th). It's still a little rough around the edges, but I shall leave it now until January! I'm not sure what I made of this course. I learnt what I needed to learn - but then there wasn't an awful lot *to* learn as so much is unknown. The biology bits were good - but I wasn't keen on all the archaeology. Glad I did S182 first actually, as I think that helped.

24th October

Word of the day:

apogee (n.)

The point in the orbit of the moon or of an artificial satellite most distant from the centre of the earth.
The point in an orbit most distant from the body being orbited.
The farthest or highest point; the apex: “The golden age of American sail, which began with the fast clipper ships in 1848, reached its apogee in the Gold Rush years” (Los Angeles Times).

23rd October

I've given up on the blogger - can't even remember where to go to update it!! Anyway, I am now on Unit 24 of the course and am just beginning to enjoy it! A lot of the previous units have, in all honesty, been tough going - lots and lots of theory and contradictions! I've started to put the glossary on here.

List of Links relevant to the ECA

Oldest prehistoric art unearthed

BBC Walking with Cavement (click on Australopithecus afarensis via "The ape that stood up").

Blombos Cave

More Blombos Cave

Gibraltar Museum Site

Friendly Fire

Kostenki Palaeolithic settlements

(Simpler) Kostenki Palaeolithic settlements

Cave of Chauvet, Pont d'Arc

The first family

Environmental context and taphonomy of the AL-333 locality, Hadar, Ethiopia

Mezhirich Mammoth camp

The Saami people

The Fulani people

Materials arrived 21 August 2003. I'm doing a blogger on this course! Or I'm attempting to do one - I may well end up doing one of my ordinary diaries!

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PART ONE: Human Evolution in Perspective
Unit 1: Man's Place in Nature
Unit 2: Human Evolution as Narrative
Unit 3: Historical Views
Unit 4: Modern Evolutionary Theory
Unit 5: The Physical Context of Evolution
Unit 6: Extinction and Patterns of Evolution

PART TWO: Background to Human Evolution
Unit 7: Dating Methods
Unit 8: Systematics: Morphological and Molecular
Unit 9: Science of Burial
Unit 10: Primate Heritage

PART THREE: Humans as Animals
Unit 11: Bodies, Size, and Shape
Unit 12: Bodies, Brains and Energy
Unit 13: Bodies, Behavior and Social Structure
Unit 14: Nonhuman Models of Early Hominines

PART FOUR: Hominine Beginnings
Unit 15: Ape and Human Relations: Morphological and Molecular Views
Unit 16: Origin of Hominoidea
Unit 17: Origin of Bipedalism
Unit 18: Jaws and Teeth
Unit 19: The Earliest Known Hominines

PART FIVE: The Hominine Adaptation
Unit 20: The Australopithecines
Unit 21: Early Homo
Unit 22: Hominine Relations
Unit 23: Early Tool Technologies

PART SIX: Out of Africa
Unit 24: The Changing Position of Homo erectus
Unit 25: New Technologies
Unit 26: Hunter or Scavenger

PART SEVEN: Origin of Modern Humans
Unit 27: The Neanderthal Enigma
Unit 28: The Origin of Modern Humans: Anatomical Evidence
Unit 29: The Origin of Modern Humans: Genetic Evidence
Unit 30: The Origin of Modern Humans: Archeological Evidence

PART EIGHT: The Human Milieu
Unit 31: Evolution of the Brain, Intelligence, and Consciousness
Unit 32: The Evolution of Language
Unit 33: Art in Prehistory

PART NINE: New Worlds
Unit 34: New Worlds
Unit 35: The First Villagers

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