The focus of the trip was for students to gain a further understanding of the Human Evolution standard that we will be examined in the end of the year.
The Biology students attended a lecture presented by one of the zoo educators. The ﬁrst part of this lecture discussed the structure of a great apes’ skeleton in depth and in particular how their skulls compare to that of a human skull. This helped students to understand ideas such as sexual dimorphism, and why the structure of each skull is diﬀerent. We were able to then link to factors such as diet and the way in which hominids walk. The lecturer also discussed the merits of locomotion on four legs (quadrupedalism) versus two legs (bipedalism).
The second part of the presentation was more interactive and the focus was on the evolution of diﬀerent bipedal species, and the evolutionary diﬀerences between each. Students got the opportunity to examine skull models from each species which provided a firmer idea of the size diﬀerences, and structural diﬀerences among the bipedal species. As well as this the students were also able to examine tools which the diﬀerent species used. The final part of the trip was an opportunity to spend time visiting the Africa enclosures and to observe the behaviour and locomotion of real life primates.
Our thanks go to our teachers, Miss Grant and Mrs Collingwood, and to the Zoo Education department for a superb field trip.
Jibreel Aumua (Year 13, School House)