Choice 1: Homo naledi
Discovered in 2013 and announced in 2015, Homo naledi is the newest major find in paleoanthropology. The head researcher of this project, Lee Berger, is seen as a controversial scientist by some of his peers, however. This is the researcher who recently announced his latest findings via a live stream: completely unheard of behavior in the scientific community.
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An article by NOVA does a good job of summarizing the importance of the find and what Berger’s critics say about his methods.
- Read the article “Archaeology’s Disputed Genius” (Bascomb, 2015) athttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/evolution/lee-berger/ (Links to an external site.)
- Write your post on one of the following topics that focus on one of the subsections of the article:
- “Homo naledi“: How does Dr. Berger know that Homo naledi was mostly bipedal? What fossil hominids do you think H. naledi resembles the most
- “Courting Controversy”: While some paleoanthropologists take a long time, even over a decade, to publish what they know about a fossil find, Lee Berger has a quick turnaround time of a handful of years from discovery to unveiling. Consider one of these research strategies, either slow or fast work. What is an advantage of the strategy? What is a disadvantage?
- “Unconventional Excavation”: What is one of the ways that Berger’s research method is unusual compared to the work of other paleoanthropologists? Do you think that Berger’s method is an improvement on how science is conducted, or is his way harmful to science?
The initial post should be at least 200 words.
- Browse the questions your classmates have posted to see what he or she has focused on from the article.
- Add to the discussion that your classmate started. For example, did your classmate miss an important point that could change his or her stance? Was your own position affected by what your classmate wrote?
There is no minimum word limit for replies, but they should go beyond a simple “I thought that too” or “Good explanation.” Have your replies submitted by the end of Saturday.
A full score will be given to a post and replies that address all of the required points. The breakdown of the assigned score are:
- Initial Post (6 points)
- A post that thoroughly answers one of the questions based on the article. (4 points)
- College-level use of spelling and grammar. (2 points)
- Replies (4 points)
- At least two replies that expand on what the post mentioned. (4 points)
Bascomb, B. (2015). Archaeology’s disputed genius [Web article]. NOVA Next. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/evolution/lee-be…
Choice 2: “Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans”
As with watching living primates, seeing researchers in action brings paleoanthropology to life in a way that text cannot do. Check out this 20 minute video, “Great Transitions: The Origin of Humans”:https://youtu.be/Yjr0R0jgct4 (Links to an external site.)
Answer the following questions:
- What is something from the video that added on to what we have learned in this class
- What was surprising about how research is done?
The initial post should be at least 200 words. Be specific and descriptive! Have your initial post by the end of Wednesday.
- Read the posts of at least two other students.
- Add on to what your classmate wrote about the video. Are there further connections between the video and the course material?
Have your replies submitted by the end of Saturday.