These explorations are intended to expand your understanding of the evolution of modern humans and our archaic human ancestors. Use your favorite Internet search programs to roam around the World Wide Web and discover what other people who have interest in these subjects have said to explain and support their views. Seek out reliable, factual sources. Do not stop at just two or three. It is worth the extra time to thoroughly research these questions and get views on all sides of the issues.
Questions to Explore
One of the hottest debates in paleoanthropology today centers around the question of how modern humans are related to the Neandertals. Look on the Internet for data concerning this issue. Who are the leading advocates on the different sides of the argument? What evidence do they believe supports their positions?
Since the early 1980's, paleoanthropologists interested in the origins of Homo sapiens usually have seen the fossil data as supporting one of two opposing hypotheses--the regional continuity model and the replacement ("out of Africa") model. In recent years, some researchers have been attempting to develop middle ground assimilation arguments to account for our origin. Search the Internet for information about these new explanations. Who is advocating them? How do they explain modern human origins? What is their evidence?
During the last two decades, there have been a number of important new discoveries of Upper Paleolithic European art. Search the Internet for information about this art. Where was it found? What was it like? When was it made? What was its purpose? How do these discoveries change our views of the Cro-Magnon people?
Modern humans with Upper Paleolithic cultures migrated into North America from Northeast Asia by at least 12,000 years ago. These late ice age people were the ancestors of at least some of the American Indians today. It is possible that the first immigrants in the New World actually arrived 10's of thousands of years earlier. Search the Internet for information about these possible earlier arrivals. What is the evidence? Where are the sites? How old are they? How reliable is this evidence?
Help Getting Started
If you have not been satisfied with the search programs that you have used in the past, try one of the following. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, none of them can link you to everything available on the Web today because of the rapid growth of sites and the way search engines selectively exclude certain kinds of sites.
Old Standby General
If you don't have success searching with these programs, take a look at the Related Internet Links section of this tutorial.
CAUTION: In doing your searches, keep in mind that not everything on the Web is accurate, current, or true. To help discover which sites can be trusted and which ones cannot, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who are the authors of the site? What are their credentials? Are they experts? 2. Is the information current? When was the website created and last updated? 3. Do the facts presented in the site seem correct? 4. Is the purpose of the site to objectively inform and explain or to persuade and sell a particular perspective?
Copyright © 2000-2012 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.