Establish Prior Knowledge
Ask students if they are familiar with “Peking Man,” and if so, share what they know. You may want to direct them to the AMNH Hall of Human Origins website to learn more about this human species. http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/human-origins-and-cultural-halls/anne-and-bernard-spitzer-hall-of-human-origins/peking-man
Explain that in the Snapshot they are about to see, new dating techniques suggest that Peking Man lived in Asia earlier than was previously thought.
Have students view the Snapshot and read the synopsis. Use the following questions to guide discussion.
- What did scientists originally estimate the age of the Peking man fossils to be?
- Why did scientists revise their estimates?
- What was the climate like 770,000 years ago?
- What questions did this new estimate raise about how Peking man lived?
- Why might finding evidence that Peking man had fire be difficult for scientists to obtain?
Use the following question to wrap up your discussion:
- What evidence helps scientists piece together what our ancient relatives look like and how they may have lived?