Establish Prior Knowledge
Remind students that genetics is the study of how traits are passed from one generation to another. Briefly review DNA, genes, and chromosomes with students. If necessary, direct them to this web site:http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/human-origins/understanding-our-past
Tell students that, in the Snapshot they are about it see, scientists investigate how primates and humans evolved into different species.
Have students watch the Snapshot and read the synopsis. Use the following questions to guide a class discussion.
- When scientists mapped the genes of different primates, what did they discover about human genes?
- What was significant about when our ancestors’ genes made many duplicates?
- What do scientists speculate about how these mutations might have impacted species?
Use the following question to wrap up your discussion:
- If you were a scientist studying the our family tree, what questions would you like to investigate about how primate species, including humans, have evolved.