Neanderthals at the cave site of Trou Al'Wesse in Belgium, clinging on as climate deteriorated. (Credit: Digital painting by James Ives)
Although an African origin of the modern human species is generally accepted, the evolutionary processes involved in the speciation, geographical spread, and eventual extinction of archaic humans outside of Africa are much debated. An additional complexity has been the recent evidence of limited interbreeding between modern humans and the Neandertals and Denisovans (a newly discovered group from Siberia). Modern human migrations and interactions began during the buildup to the Last Glacial Maximum, starting about 100,000 years ago. By examining the history of other organisms through glacial cycles, valuable models for evolutionary biogeography can be formulated. According to one such model, the adoption of a new refugium by a subgroup of a species may lead to important evolutionary changes.
“Ultimately, this model explains why Homo sapiens as a species are here and the archaic humans are not.” Dr J.R. Stewart
The research also leads to interesting conclusions as to how and why Neanderthals, and indeed the Denisovans, evolved in the first place.
Check out the full article here
The archaeology of human evolution in depth.
Fresh voices in the field speak out on relevant topics.
Extensive reference guide and extremely thorough glossary.
Struggling to get your head around role of polyploidy in speciation, adaptive radiation and such like?
This page brings those concepts into focus using New Zealand examples.
Check out the rest of the Evolution for Teaching site for information on ‘Human Evolution’, `Darwin & Religion’, Earth’s History & Evolution’ and `Theories, Hypotheses, & Laws’.
A good authoratative site from University of Waikato with a links to glossary & a useful FAQ page.
This web site is intended to provide an overview of the study of human evolution, and of the currently accepted fossil evidence. It also contains a very comprehensive treatment of creationist claims about human evolution. If you are not interested in creationism, you can easily skip those pages. If you are interested in creationism, you can go directly to the pages on creationist arguments; they contain links to the fossils under discussion when necessary.
Start finding out how it all happened.
Very readable and accessible style with latest news comment and analysis
Interactive multimedia, research and scholarship come together with this site to promote greater understanding of the course of human evolution
This achievement standard involves the description of trends in human biological evolution, cultural evolution, and patterns of dispersal.
Trends refers to progressive change over a period of time in relation to:
- human biological evolution
- human cultural evolution
- patterns of dispersal of hominins. The term hominins refers to living and fossil species belonging to the human lineage. This is a subgroup of hominids which includes both humans and the great apes.
Trends in human biological evolution begin with early bipedal hominins and may require comparison with living hominids (apes). Trends are limited to:
- skeletal changes linked to bipedalism
- changes in skull and endocranial features
- changes in the manipulative ability of the hand.
Trends in human cultural evolution will be limited to evidence relating to: use of tools (stone, wood, bone), fire, shelter, clothing, abstract thought (communication, language, art), food-gathering, and domestication of plants and animals.
- Interpretations on the origins and trends of human evolution will be based on current evidence and may change as a result of recent developments.
- Evidence relating to human evolution must be scientific evidence which is widely accepted and presented in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
From Bradshaw Foundation
Timeline animation of ‘Out of Africa’ hypothesis. Lots of extra information to click on. Evidence from mitochondrial dna etc…
Link – http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/timeline.swf