Modern humans

Suppose you were able to choose three fossils to extract DNA from and your goal was to test the hypothesis that completely modern humans evolved in Africa. Which three would you pick? Explain why.

Important information: This discussion is to focus on MODERN humans. That means hominids that appeared in the fossil record after 300kya. Please focus on the topic. Consider how you would use DNA to test the origins of modern humans. No discussion of apes, australopithecines and earlier species of the genus Homo (before 500 kya) in your answer.

Answer preview

Paranthropus boisei is one of the fossils whose DNA I would wish to extract. Studying its DNA will allow me to understand its constitution, specifically its skull. Paranthropus boisei lived in Eastern Africa over two million years ago (Ungar et al., 2008). Its food source is still puzzling archaeologists. By assessing the DNA of the fossil, I might find out what Paranthropus boisei was feeding on during its existence. The second fossil that will interest me is the Ardipithecus ramidus. Its fossil was discovered in 1994, and Archaeologists believed that they lived in East Africa (Lovejoy, 2009). By studying the fossil, I might shed light on whether the Ardipithecus ramidus was bipedal. “Lucy” is the third fossil I would wish to explore. The fossil has been around for over three million years (Hogenboom, 2014). Studying its DNA might help me decide whether “Lucy” is humanity’s ancient ancestor.(418words)