Earth Science Lecture 2: African Climate Change and Human Evolution

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In this second video of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the evolution of the human brain and what makes humans, as a species, unique. He then explores the relationship between African climate change and turning points in human and other faunal evolution. The lecture emphasizes how scientists have used different types of evidence collection to support various hypotheses about the relationship between climate change and evolution and includes a discussion on the difference between correlation and causation. A lecture transcript and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

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Earth Science Lecture 2: African Climate Change and Human Evolution

Discipline:
Resource type:

In this second of three lectures in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the evolution of the human brain and what makes humans, as a species, unique. He then explores the relationship between African climate change and turning points in human and other faunal evolution. The lecture emphasizes how scientists have used different types of evidence collection to support various hypotheses about the relationship between climate change and evolution and includes a discussion on the difference between correlation and causation. A lecture video and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

Earth Science Lecture 2: African Climate Change and Human Evolution

Discipline:
Resource type:

Elephants grazing in Amboseli swamps, north of Kilimanjaro.

In this second of three lectures in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the evolution of the human brain and what makes humans, as a species, unique. He then explores the relationship between African climate change and turning points in human and other faunal evolution. The lecture emphasizes how scientists have used different types of evidence collection to support various hypotheses about the relationship between climate change and evolution and includes a discussion on the difference between correlation and causation. A lecture video and transcript are also available on FoSO.

Evolution of Language

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Language areas: Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas overlap with areas for imitation (orange).

This assignment requires students to consider data related to the evolution of language in several different models: human dyslexia, the songs of finches, and the cries of non-human primates. Students will apply their understanding of language evaluation techniques as well as neurobiology to answer questions based on several different published studies. They will also practice working with scientific notation and understanding scientific assumptions. This document serves as an answer key; a student handout is provided in an accompanying document.

Evolution of Language

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Comparison of the blood-oxygen-level-dependent neural activity from Chinese dyslexic and non-dyslexic subjects.

This assignment requires students to consider data related to the evolution of language in several different models: human dyslexia, the songs of finches, and the cries of non-human primates. Students will apply their understanding of language evaluation techniques as well as neurobiology to answer questions based on several different published studies. They will also practice working with scientific notation and understanding scientific assumptions. This document serves as a student handout; an answer key is provided in an accompanying document.

Common Terms in Evolutionary Biology and Genetics

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This document provides definitions of common and important terms used in biology and genetics. The glossary may be provided as a resource to students at the beginning of a lecture or unit on biology, genetics, biodiversity, or other related topics.

Biodiversity Seminar 3

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Lake Victoria

This document serves as a teaching guide for the third of three seminars in a unit on biodiversity. This seminar focuses on invasive species in order to underscore the difficulties of managing and restoring ecosystems and the potential damage of intended or unintended manipulation. As explained in the corresponding lecture, biodiversity theory can explain the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss and provides recommendations for mediating the sixth global extinction event and thus ensuring the availability of ecosystem services, the health of the biosphere, and the quality of human life. The guide includes an overview, reading list, and step-by-step seminar plan, including suggested discussion questions, activities, and reference to assignments. Related seminar activities and assignment questions are provided in accompanying files.