Back-to-School: Human Prehistory 101

Soon children will be filling their backpacks with new notebooks and pencils and piling into yellow school buses.   Even if your school days are long past, you need not be left behind.  

Learning is life-long, and you can continue your education using 23andMe’s short animated guides to human prehistory.  

Distributed on-line both on our website (just the first three videos) and at the Khan Academy (all five videos), watching these free educational videos couldn’t be easier.  

To learn a little more about genetics you don’t even need to get on a bus, just your computer.   It is time to go back-to-school! To take the 23andMe course in Human Prehistory 101, watch the following five videos below. This is the first of three educational courses we’ll be posting in honor of the “Back-to-School” season.  

You can check how well you really were paying attention by trying our “quiz” after the videos (and you stand a chance of winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card).   We’ll be announcing the correct answers and the winner of the contest on Wednesday, September 5th. Upon completion, you can take pride in your new knowledge by printing out a certificate that signifies your new human prehistory expert status!


Description: This first video sets the stage. You’ll learn about our ancestors and evolutionary cousins — who they were and how they lived. Time: 4 min 41 sec

Part 1: Out of (Eastern) Africa

Description: In this second video learn about the birthplace of humanity — Africa — and why non-Africans may be descended from as few as 100 travelers. Time: 5 min 35 sec

Part 2: Weathering the Storm

Description: Hot weather got your down?   This third video is sure to cool you off. Time: 3 min 25 sec

Part 3: Agriculture Rocks Our World

Description: In this fourth video you learn about how agriculture not only changed our diets but also many social aspects of human society. Time: 7 min 00 sec


Description: This last video tells the story of how humankind is being reunited. Time: 2 min 45 sec
  Update: This quiz is officially over! Check out the answers here.

You have now completed the entire 23andMe Human Prehistory course, the first in a three-part Back-to-School educational course series! Click on the certificate below get a larger image which you can print out and display it with pride.

Want to continue your education? You can learn about your self from both a health and ancestry perspective on 23andMe. Not yet a customer? Visit our store.

  • Lynn Poston

    I don’t have the money to pay for a kit, but my family history is rich in cancer, especially breast cancer.
    Of the 6 of my extended family tested, only one did not carry the BRC2 gene. Of those tested, one eighty year old and a fiftyone year old females did not have cancers associated with this gene, but did have their ovaries taken out as a preventative measure. However my 58 year old brother has CLL (Chronic Lympha… Luekimia) and we wonder if this is another disease associated with that gene, for which he was positive. The other three have had cancer and had either our ovaries out or a hysterectomy as well as masectomies. The.mother of the eighty-year old did die of breast cancer at the age of 28 (in the 1930s). She is the grandmother of the rest of us except for being the greatgrandmother of the one who did not have the gene. My cousins’ mothers died before this gene had been identified–one from ovarian cancer and the other from a long illness beginning with a stroke but which other illnesses were suspected toward the end of her life. I would like to know if my night’s CLL is associated with this gene.