The School of Biosciences



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The School of Biosciences

This is a series of practicals we have run for our own students and in schools.

It work best with real bone replicas which we obtained from the following suppliers




  • Bone Clones http://www.boneclones.com/index.html

  • 3B scientific http://www.3bscientific.com/global/3bscientific/index.cfm/abspath/com/domainID/2/Language/1/search/meta also have quite a good range of products.

  • Timstar http://www.timstar.co.uk/ is the supplier we bought the human skeletons from



  • For those of you who don’t have real fossil replicas there are a set photographs of the material with scale bars in a folder on our web site





  • http://www.biosciences.bham.ac.uk/links/teachers/teachers.htm, follow ‘secondary school resources’
  • You can either measure these on the screen or print them out for the students to use

Forensic examination of Human fossil1s

What is a species?


Biologists define members of the same species as organisms that can mate to produce fertile offspring. With fossils we cannot do that, so we have rely on what they look like. Because appearance can be a matter of opinion, there have been many disputes about classification of hominids (a hominid is all human relatives including chimps and gorillas whereas hominin refers to those organisms in the lineage following the split from chimps about 6 MYA).
If we use what something looks like as our species definition then we might put males and females, or young and old individuals into different species. So, as biologists, we need to know something about the variation in a population to give us more confidence in our allocation of organisms into different species.
The aim of this practical is to:




Exercise 1: Human evolution

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