Becoming Human

Topics: Human, Great Rift Valley, Brain Pages: 2 (809 words) Published: December 6, 2012
Miles Elam
Becoming a Human Part 1
In this short film, the main focuses are on why and how we became human over millions of years. The Afar in North Eastern Ethiopia, part of The Great Rift Valley, is the location of the first steps in discovering the answers. Archeologist, Zeresenay Alemseged had made a remarkable discovery. He found a cheek bone of a small face that more than likely was from a baby embedded into sandstone. It was found on top of volcanic ash that was dated to be about 3.4 million years old. The fossil was from the dawn of human evolution. The archaeologist named the fossil Selam, which meant, peace. Selam was actually the same species as Lucy, another fossil founded by Don Johansen in the 1970’s. The key reason to why these fossils were quite important is that they were both bipedalist species.

Millions of years ago in Kenya, Africa, the climate was dramatically different from what it is presently. Instead of an extremely dry hot desert, it was covered with wet and tropical rainforests and included a massive lake larger than any of The Great Lakes. This is where the ancestors of Selam and Lucy lived, but as the environment dried up and the rainforests shrunk, that is when theses species developed the trait known as bipedalism. There are a couple theories on why this happened, one being that they had to stand up to see over tall grass, another being that they had to stand up to reach fruits, another states that they stood up to cool down more efficiently. It is also believed that the most compelling theory is that they stood up to save energy.

About 1600 miles west of the Great Rift Valley in the Sahara Desert, known as Northern Chad is where they decided to explore next. After 25 expeditions of coming up with zero results, finally on the 26th expedition they made a shocking discovery. The found a smashed misshaped skull dated to be about 6 million years old, it was so deformed that it was hard to determine exactly what it...
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