questions on the story of the human species

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Journey of Man: The Story of the Human Species

Journey of Man answers the question, “Where do we all come from?” Today, some six billion people are spread across the planet. But there was a time – not so long ago – when the human species numbered only a few thousand and their world was a single continent: Africa.

Then something happened. A small group left their African homeland on a journey into an unknown, hostile world. Against impossible odds, these extraordinary explorers not only survived but went on to conquer the earth. Their story can finally be told through the science of genetics. Dr. Wells, a 33-year-old geneticist, is part of a team that has been re-writing history. He has been disentangling this epic story from evidence all people carry with them – in their DNA – inherited from those ancient travelers.

Wells travels to every continent in search of the people whose DNA holds humanity’s secret history: the Namibian Bushmen, the Chukchi reindeer herders of the Russian Artic, Native Americans, and Australian Aborigines.

Watch this Film on your own and answer the following questions. You can find this film for free online on many websites. For example:

You will type up your answers on this sheet and submit them electronically on Canvas. Remember that you will be submitting through plagiarism checking software so ensure your work is your own.

Film Study Guide

  • How many thousands of years ago were all of our ancestors living in Africa?
  • Where was the first stop on Dr Wells’ journey, and whom did he meet with?
  • Where were the genetic markers (SNP’s) that Dr Wells studied? What does SNP stand for?
  • The San bushman showed a “common” order to the nucleotides laid out on the DNA of their Y chromosomes. What caused the changes (SNP’s) now seen in distant relatives such as us?
  • Why were isolated populations easiest to work with in terms of their DNA?
  • What is unique about the DNA on the Y chromosome, besides the fact that this DNA is passed only from father to son?
  • How did our ancestors make their way out of Africa and into other parts of the world?
  • Why did our ancestors leave Africa?
  • If we all have the same ancestral origins, why to people from different parts of the world have such different physical features?
  • So what can we learn from this research by Wells? Explain the statement: “We are all Africans under the skin.”

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