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Newly discovered fossils are prompting some scientists to consider a minor revision of the relationships shown on the human family tree. This news brief from September 2007 clarifies the occasionally misleading news coverage of the story.
UC Museum of Paleontology
This article includes a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class. It also includes hints about related lessons that might be used in conjunction with this one. Get more tips for using Evo in the News articles in your classroom.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
- The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)
- The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.
- Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.
- Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.
- Authentic scientific controversy and debate within the community contribute to scientific progress. (P7)
- Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations. (P7)