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Human Evolution

A very brief summary of the evolution of large-brained, bipedal humans.

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Teacher Contributed

Transformers—Human Edition


Human Adaptations

Student Exploration

Are we wiser with wisdom teeth?

A very common dental experience that most people share is that of having wisdom teeth removed. For some, it happens earlier than others. For some, it is a much more painful experience. While the experiences may vary, most experiences happen because our jaws cannot accommodate the size of the wisdom molars anymore. Check it out:

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

If wisdom teeth no longer serve the purpose that they were intended to and there is no longer room in the average size jaw for wisdom teeth, will we begin to adapt? Will we stop developing wisdom teeth? Understanding Genetics

Extension Investigation

  1. Can you think of any other features that humans no longer need? What function did it hold in the past? Here are a few to get you started:
    1. These Toes Were Made for Running
    2. Why do humans get goose bumps?
    3. Fish out of Water
  2. With the availability and accessibility of developing technology, we are not as disadvantaged if we are lacking a particular trait. For example, poor eyesight is improved through the use of glasses or laser eye surgery. Brainstorm a few different improvements technology has had on our natural deficiencies. Will technology affect the course of natural selection? Are humans still evolving by Darwin's natural selection?

Resources Cited

Brandon Keim. Wired Science. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/02/runningtoes/

The Tech Museum. http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask223

Rachele Cooper. ScienceLine. http://scienceline.org/2007/02/ask-cooper-wisdomteeth/

George Bubenik. Scientific American. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-humans-get-goosebu

Neil Shubin. University of Chicago Magazine. http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0812/features/fish_out_of_water.shtml

Olly Bootle. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12535647

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