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Human Origins- Early Hominins.docx

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ANTH 1120

Human Origins- Early Hominins Earth’s History The earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old Cenozoic Era Miocene Epoch- ca. 24 mya, radiation of hominoids, and POSSIBLY first hominins Pliocene Epoch- ca. 5.5 mya, is the epoch where the first hominins definitely appeared. Pleistocene Epoch, 2-1.8 mya, climatic fluctuations, modern forms of humans appeared near the end of hte Pleistocene. Recent Epoch 10-12Kya where orgins of agriculture, development of cities and civilization. Hominin- the group consisting of modern humans, extinc human species and all immediate ancestors. Hominin Characteristics: Extended childhood, Bipedalism, Recused sexual dimorphism, greater body mass, precision grip, smaller, flatter, wider face, thicker enamel, increased brain size Behavioural and biological characterisitcs that distinguis humans from other primates: Culture is key to coping with the environment. Symbolic language Bipedality Bisexual social groups, very large brains Environmental Background to Human Evolution Gradual cooling, drying of climate from ~50Mya of rapid cooling and drying Adaptive problems of early hominins Change from tree dwellers to terrestrial primates movement from forests to open savanna Bipedalism: The first critical adaptation of the hominin lineage. Habitual and efficient bipedality restricted to homini
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