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Lecture 18

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ANTH 203
Michael Bisson

Early Hominins Behaviour Adaptations Different from Apes Significant anatomical differences appear by 1.8 MYA Differences Humans have a predominantly technological rather than a biological adaptation Humans eat more meat Human settlement include a home-base Humans have long-term pair-bonds between males and females There is a sexual division of labour Food is shared within the group, particularly within bonded pairs (and offsprings) Males play a significant role in the upbringing of offspring Owen Lovejoy argues those traits appear early in the hominin line and that they're not linked to technology Hunting hypothesis These behavioural traits evolved as a single interrelated complex somewhat later and were triggered by the combined development of technology and hunting Raymond Dart popularized the idea of early hominins as killer apes Hunting + meat-eating = human culture Social Organization Early hominins lived in small groups of less than 25 individuals Survived by foraging and hunting big game Society was male-dominated Sexual division of labour in which females gathered vegetables and males hunted Food was shared between monogamous, pair-bonded They were nomadic but territorial and live in short term home-base camps The biological and cultural evolution of both Homo habilis and Homo erectus was driven by technology and the intellectual demands of a hunting adaptation Washburn stressed that hunting was important because it favoured cooperation within hominins groups Advantages of cooperation included Cooperative hunters are more successful than lone hunters Cooperative hunters can kill larger prey Cooperating reduces wastage, because meat can't be stored Group hunting encourages division of labour and broaden the subsistence base Promote larger groups because larger groups have higher positions in the predator hierarchy The latter 2 are based on the assumption of widespread sharing of food within the group Physical evidence for diet is present in dental morphology Degree of sexual dimorphism has clues about social organization Probably male-male competition and polygyny True for A. robustus, but unclear for other early hominins Ardi. ramidus has little body/canine differences
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