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ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Neanderthal Genome Project, Laetoli, Foramen Magnum

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Tracy Prowse

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humans and environment 11/20/2012 9:38:00 AM
Paleoanthropology- the study of fossil humans and their ancestors
The study of fossil humans
When and Where did the first humans Appear?
Fragment of a hominid fossil
Perspective from the scientific method
Hominid: humans and their ancestors, identify humans like us
Multidisciplinary- experts from various scientific disciplines
Physical sciences eg geology; biological sciences; and social sciences
What are fossils? Organic material (eg bone)
Is replaced by minerals from surrounding soil
What are the earliest fossils found?
Ardipithecuss ramidus (5.8-5.2 mya)
Etheopia, walking on two feet, bipedalism: ability to walk on two feet
We are the only createrst that walk bipedaly
What does a hominid look like?
Small font teeth and large molars
Bipedalism and associated abotomical adaptations
Manual dexterity
Australopithecus afarensis (4 mya)
Lucy vs modern female
She was bipedal
Laetoli footprints- found in Tanzania (1978)
Major Features of Bipedalism
1. position of foramen magnum (neck is more at the back of the skull)
2. hominid spine has distinctive curves (s shape)
3. shape of the pelvis- broad and low
4. length of lower limbs
5. structure of femur and knee
6. shape and structure of the foot (arch)

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why did Bipedalism Develop?
NO- earliest tools date to 2.5 mya
Efficient scavenging? Gathering food and scavenged dead animals
Bipedalism is much more energy efficient
Energetic cost vs body mass, results: humans were more energy efficient
that’s why bipedalism developed
Predator avoidance?
Sexual division of labour (man the hunter)?
Provisioning: food sharing and carrying
Enhanced heat loss (bipedal gets hit by the sun less)
The australopithecines (3-1 mya)
Genus australopithecus
Many different species recognized
Found exclusively in Easy and South Africa (so far….)
Clearly bipedal
Relatively small brains
Large teeth (esp molars)
Mosaic evolutions
Diverse species in east and south Africa
Australopithecus boisei
2.3-1.2 mya
brain size 510cc
features on skull adapted for chewing tough foods
became extinct 1 million years ago
earliest evidence for genus homo?
2.5 1.8 mya
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