Human Evolution


Evidence of Human Evolution

Welcome to Episode 5 of our Human Evolution Mini Series! In this episode, we will be taking a deep dive into some of the foundational evidence for human evolution. This episode explores the diverse and compelling evidence that has helped scientists piece together the incredible story of our ancestors.

Fossils are like windows into the past, and at the time of creating this episode, we have unearthed fossils from over 6,000 individuals. Anthropologists and archaeologists use this fossil record to reconstruct our family tree which reveals the evolutionary relationships between species.

To pinpoint the age of fossils, we turn to dating techniques. During this episode, we explore the differences between relative and absolute dating strategies. This includes how relative dating provides a general age comparison, while absolute dating offers a more precise estimate.

DNA is another valuable source of evidence for human evolution. By sequencing DNA, we can compare similarities between species, quantifying their relatedness. Humans and chimps, for instance, share approximately 98.8% of their DNA. With the help of modern science, we can extract and analyze DNA from ancient remains, gaining insights into our ancestors' genetic history.

The evolution of life on earth is a long and complicated story. This episode will teach you about how fossils, dating techniques, and molecular genetics work together to tell the story of our past. Although we've made significant progress, more research is needed to uncover precise speciation timelines and refine our understanding of the human family tree.

Episode 5 at a Glance:

  • Fossils and what they prove
  • Absolute vs relative dating techniques
  • Radioactivity, stratigraphy, and carbon dating
  • Molecular genetics and DNA sequencing

Course Page


The Selfish Gene
The Selfish Gene: 4th Edition by Richard Dawkins
Why Evolution Is True
Why Evolution Is True by Jerry A. Coyne
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst Reprint Edition by Robert M. Sapolsky
A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century
A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein
Exploring Biological Anthropology: The Essentials
Evolution: Making Sense of Life
Evolution: Making Sense of Life Third Edition by Douglas J. Emlen and Carl Zimmer
Introduction to Human Evolution: A Bio-Cultural Approach
Introduction to Human Evolution: A Bio-Cultural Approach by Gillian Crane-Kramer and Roman Gastrell Harrison