Human Evolution


Introduction to Evolution

Welcome to Episode 1 of our Human Evolution Mini Course! Join us as we unravel the complex narrative of life on Earth, spanning 3.7 billion years. The focus of Episode 1 will be on the intriguing story of human evolution and the pioneers who first discovered its significance.

We will begin with the remarkable life of Charles Darwin, the renowned naturalist whose observations revolutionized biology. From his formative years to his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, we delve into Darwin's path towards becoming one of the most influential figures in scientific history.

Through his keen observations on the Galapagos Islands, Darwin unearthed subtle variations within the wildlife species living there and was determined to uncover why. This close monitoring of the local environments led to Darwin's groundbreaking theory of natural selection. This introductory episode provides a brief introduction into the postulates that together create a foundation for Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Finally, this lesson does not shy away from Darwin's unanswered questions. We will touch upon the aspects Darwin was unsure of including the origin of variation and inheritance patterns.

Want to learn more? Be sure to continue onto Episode 2 where we discuss the evolution of adaptations - coming soon!

Episode 1 at a Glance:

- Life and achievements of the renowned naturalist, Charles Darwin
- The 5 year journey on the voyage of the Beagle
- Variations within the finch populations on the Galapagos Islands
- Natural selection: what is it and how does it work
- Thomas Malthus and the "struggle for existence"
- Darwin's three postulates
- Alfred Russel Wallace
- Darwin's unanswered questions

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