Natural Selection and Genetic Modification – 2

Year 9 Topic 3: Natural Selection and Genetic Modification

Learning Opportunity 2: Evolution

This learning opportunity has 3 tasks.

Target time: 45 minutes

By the end of this learning opportunity you will be able to:

Describe the evidence for human evolution, based on fossils, including specific examples.

Describe the evidence for human evolution based on stone tools.

Explain how the age of the stones can be identified.

Key words: Evolution, fossils, tools.

Task 1:

Can you name 3 animals which became extinct? Think of the movie ‘Ice Age’. 

What led to these animals becoming extinct? If you’re not sure do some research.

Task 2: Read the information below. Create a timeline of the dates of the discoveries of these fossils. Include the name given to the fossil, its age and a summary of its features.  

Evolution is the gradual change in the characteristics of a species over time. Fossils do not show this smooth change over time as not all fossils have been discovered. Some fossils will also be damaged over time e.g. by weather conditions. 

Fossil evidence supports the theory of evolution. In 1992 ‘Ardi’ fossil was discovered which was 4.4 million-years-old. When analysing the fossil, scientists worked out that Ardi could walk upright. Ardi also had very long arms and had feet which would enable Ardi to climb trees.


In 1974 ‘Lucy’ fossil was discovered which was 3.2 million-years-old. The structure of ‘Lucy’ showed that she could walk upright. Lucy had feet like a human but they were curved.  

In the 1960s, scientists Leakey & Leakey found human-like species from 2.4-1.4 million-years-old. These were shorter with long arms and were able to walk upright.  

Answers are available at the end of this learning opportunity.

Task 3: Read the information about stone tool evidence. Watch the two videos. Be prepared to answer questions on what you have learnt in the next task.

  1. Explain why scientists cannot be sure that human-like animals, such as Ardi, evolved into modern humans.
  2. Explain how the change in sophistication of tools provides evidence of larger or more complex brain evolution. Could there be other reasons for the change in use of tools? 

Task 2 Answers
Task 3 Answers

Question 1:

  • There are a lack of transitional fossils.
  • This leads to significant gaps in the fossil record.

Question 2:

  • The tools became more sophisticated over time and were therefore capable of carrying out more accurate or detailed work.
  • A larger brain is needed to carry out more accurate work / to carry out a wider range of tasks.

If you would like to learn more about the topics covered in this learning opportunity then follow the link below!

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