Educator Resources

Class Discussion
Establish Prior Knowledge

Ask students to share what they know about early humans and their ability to walk upright. To learn more about early human bipedalism direct students to this website:

http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/human-origins/the-history-of-human-evolution/the-first-humans/a-star-species 

Tell students that in the Snapshot they are about to see, a new analysis of a 6-million-year-old thighbone sheds new light on when early humans were able to walk upright.

Exploration

Have students view the Snapshot and read the synopsis.  Use the following questions to guide class discussion.

1. What methodology did scientists use to analyze the Orrorin thighbone?

2. How does the Orrorinthighbone compare to that of chimpanzees? How does it compare to that of Australopithecus ("Lucy”)?

3.  What conclusions did researchers reach about Ororrin’s ability to walk upright?

Wrap-up

·       Describe where scientists think Orrorin fits in the  hominid family tree.