Skip to content
Human Origins Ceiling

Human Origins: Searching for our Fossil Ancestors

Science/Social Studies, Grades 6–12
Time required: 35–45 minutes

Skeletons, skulls, stone tools, and cave art illustrate the story of human origins and the physical and cultural changes leading to modern humans. Homologous structures, adaptations, tool use, and extinction of some forms are among the topics presented.


Tennessee Science Curriculum

  • 8th: Classification, adaptations, age of fossils. spi 0807.5.2, spi 0807.5.2, spi 0807.5.5
  • Biology 1: Form and function; fossils, comparative anatomy, and classification. 3210.5.2, 3210.5.5
  • Earth science: Fossils as evidence of past life and changes in life and environments 3204.4.6
  • Geology: Fossils compared to modern forms; fossils as evidence of change. 3205.4.6, 3205.4.7

Tennessee Social Studies Curriculum

  • 6th: Evidence of hominids which may be human ancestors vs those which are not; changes in anatomy and the use of artifacts, and fire; adaptations to environmental change; Neanderthals; art; DNA testing. 6.1, 6.2
  • Ancient History: The very early humans and their ancestors, artifacts, movements, and ways of life. AH.5, AH.7, AH.8, AH.10
  • World Geography: The beginnings of human adaptation to the environment through technology; the movement of humans from Africa to Asia and Europe. WG.12, WG.19 

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

Report an accessibility barrier