Questions for Many Human Ails are ‘Scars’ of Evolution


Before reading:

1.      Describe some of the similarities and differences in the shape and function of your feet and hands.

2.     How do you use your hands in ways our closest living relatives, apes and monkeys, do not (or cannot)?

3.     Try walking on your hands and feet. Does it feel comfortable or natural? Why or why not?

During reading:

1.      Why is walking upright considered “peculiar?”

2.     What is a hominid?

3.     What “price” do humans pay for walking upright?

4.     What effect has evolving to walk upright had on the skeleton?

5.     When did humans and chimpanzees last share a common ancestor?

6.     List several traits Lucy shared with modern humans.

7.     Explain the advantages of having a curved spine.

8.     What is a slipped disk?

9.     Can a chimpanzee suffer a sprained ankle? Explain your answer.

10. How have females adapted to accommodate our larger brains and skulls?

After reading:

1.      Imagine people never evolved to walk upright: What present-day human activities would be impossible or difficult to perform? Explain why.

2.     Upright walking is considered one of the earliest and most important steps that our species took in becoming human. In what other important ways have we evolved?


1.      Why is it important to study human evolution?

2.     The use of fire and tools mark important steps in human evolution. Scientists believe their use emerged only after our ancestors began walking upright. Explain why that would be a likely scenario.