A couple of notes before beginning. You will note the links to "Dictionary, Thesaurus and the HyperHistory Timeline" at the head of this page. You will encounter these items throughout our on-line pages during the course of the semester. If you click on "Dictionary and Thesaurus," you will be taken to the Merriam-Webster On-Line Language Center, at which you can search for any word you do not understand. Take the time to learn the dictionary's way of showing you how the word in question is pronounced and learn both the meaning and pronunciation of the words you look up. You will find that it is much easier to remember terms if you know what they sound like. It can also be important to know how a word is used, and the Thesaurus can provide you with a greater range of synonyms and examples of usage. It can be difficult to keep the sequence of things straight, but this is an essential feature of thinking in an historical manner. If you find that the chronology of events is beginning to confuse you, click on "the Hyperhistory Timeline," and you will be taken to a web site that specializes in names and events, and when things happened. Don't be afraid to use these aids. When you are finished with them, you can always return to this site by clicking the BACK arrow near the top of your screen.
The second matter is that is one of word usage. When I refer to "man" or "mankind," I consider the terms to include both genders. I know that a different and more specifically gender-neutral terminology is preferred by many, but this is the grammar and style with which I grew up and this is the usage with which I am most comfortable.
Today's subject is the study of Genus homo, the entire family of manlike creatures, of which our own species, homo sapiens, is the most recent, and apparently the only surviving example. At the close of this section, you should
You should begin your study of this section by getting a grasp of the overall timeframe of World History. Human Prehistory: An Exhibition will take you from early Greece to the 19th-century naturalists who developed the concept of evolution, and will do so will some excellent illustrations. Take the time to access Lucy, in order to learn a bit more about this earliest example of the hominid family, and how and where she was found.
And, if you are interested in going into this subject more deeply, , Evolution Update offers a collection of links designed for the use of students and teachers of evolutionary biology.
The section introduces a number of important concepts, some of which we will be discussing, in various forms, from time to time. Darwin's concept of the factors driving evolution and the question of whether hominids emerged in a single place or in several different places are of particular importance.
There are several questions that are not addressed directly in the materials you will be studying since the focus of these materials is upon the hominids other than modern man. Think about the following questions:
This text was produced and installed by
Lynn H. Nelson,
Department of History,
University of Kansas.
12 January 1998