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Lecture 14

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ANTH 203
Michael Bisson

The Earliest Hominins Introduction Last common ancestor of humans and apes will have only primitive characteristics Chimp line must have evolved refinements over the past 5-7 million years So it's possible that the last common ancestor possessed some hominin traits Toros Menala In Chad New fossil found Sahelanthropus Include dental elements and a nearly complete but distorted skull 6 MYBP Not older than 7 million Claimed hominins characteristics Position of foramen magnum suggests bipedalism Canine is only slightly projecting Molar enamel is thicker than the average ape, but not as thick as Australophithecines (later hominins) Thick, continuous eyebrow ridge Cranial base shape is much closer to later hominins Including homo erectus Other characteristics Body size similar to chimp Brain size similar to a chimp (350 cm3) Similar nuchal crest are present in both apes and some early hominins Environment Lake-side forest grading to open grassland, then desert Criticism Short canine is common in female apes Thicker enamel might be a local adaptation to the drier environment Position of the foramen magnum is similar to female apes Wolpoff Argues it's a female gorilla-like creature "Sahelpithecus" Kenya Claimed hominin characteristics Dental enamel thicker than apes with rounded wear on molars The femoral neck is human in form (thicker on the top and bottom), rather than round like apes Evidence for bipedalism Criticisms Dental patterns is chimp-like Do no accept claimed evidence for bipedalism Environment Mixture of wood and savanna Ethiopia Ardi
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