This edition: Beginnings of Human Culture
Humans are first a biological species, Homo sapiens, but they are unique among all species in their capacity for cultural adaptations. This lesson first compares humans to modern primates, especially the great apes, in terms of biology, genetics, and behaviors. Next, it surveys the evolution of the line of pre-human ancestors from the first bipedal species that emerged about 6 million years ago up to anatomically modern humans and their increasingly sophisticated cultural innovations. Finally, the concept of race is discussed as a social construct that has no biological validity.