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Lecture 7

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture 7: First Humans

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTHROP 1AA3
Professor
Karen Mc Garry
Semester
Fall

Description
Thursday, November 3, 2016 First Human When and Where Did the First Humans Appear? - there are approximately 190 species of non-human primates - Primates cant be easily defined by a few traits - we can see evolutionary trends instead - limbs and locomotion - dentition - sense and the brain - development - origins from arboreal life Locomotion forms - Brachiation - Bipedalism - Knuckle walking Hands and Feet (and tail?) - hands and feet are prehensile (grasping) - five digits n hands and feet, but some show diminished thumb and second finger - Partially opposable thumb and most have fully divergent, partly opposable big toe - Nail instead of claws (except some New World monkeys) - Tactile pads with nerves at ends of fingers to enhancee touch sense 1 Thursday, November 3, 2016 Primates Have Generalized Dentition - Change in dentition — primates moved from eating insects to more fruits and vegetables to becoming omnivorous — adaptation of teeth is probably caused by natural selection, so that the kinds of teeth best able to accommodate a particular diet enhanced over time Sense and the Brain - Colour vision — all diurnal have it, nocturnal do not - Depth perception — stereoscopic vision allows to see in 3 dimensions - Binocular vision — both eyes set toward front of head - Decreased reliance on sense of smell (olfaction) — reduction in sensory areas of brain and in snout - Expansion and increasing complexity of brain- visual areas and areas having to do with hands Development - more efficient fetal nourishment, longer periods of gestation, smaller numbers of offspring, delayed maturation, extension of whole life span - Greater dependence on flexible, learned behaviour greater parental in offspring - Tendency to live in social groups and permanent association of adult males with the group, male association uncommon in all but primates - Tendency for diurnal activity patterns So… when did humans evolve? - Evidence lies in analyses of fossils and HOMININ ancestors (bipedal ancestors of humans) who lived in East and South Africa 2 Thursday, November 3, 2016 What does a Hominin Look Like? - Small front teeth and large molars - Bipedalism and associated anatomical adaptations - high manual dexterity Australopithecus afarensis (4 mya) Bipedalism — why? - transition from tropical rainforest to savanna - easier to spot predators - thermoregulation — better dispersion of body heat? — bipedalism limits the area of the body directly exposed to the sun, also helps with heat loss by allowing heat to rise up and away from body - free hands — for harvesting wild foods; tool use- but tool use appears AFTER bipedalism emerged How Can You Tell if Something is Bipedal? 1. Position of foramen magnum (shown in red) - Hominid spine has to distinctive curves (S-Shaped) - Shape of pelvis — broad and low. Early hominids more like human pelvis - Length of lower limbs (humans longer) - Structure of femur and knee - Shape and structure of the foot (arch) 3 Thursday, November 3, 2016 The Australopithecines (4-1 Mya) - Gnus — Australopithecus - Many diff species recognized - found exclusively in East and South Africa - Significant role in human evolution Defining Features of Australopithecine (Raymond Dart): - Bipedalism - Higher Degree of sexual dimorphism than humans but less than apes - Cranial capacity of 350- 600 cc - Large post canine dentition relative to humans; thick enamel - 30—55 kg; Height: 1.2-1.5m - High brachial index (forearm/upper arm ratio) compared to other hominids Lucy — Australopithecus Afarensis; discovered by Donal Johnson - 40% complete - Helped us understand - adaptations to bipedalism Did Australopithecines eat meat? - Maybe. In 2005, at the site
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