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Lecture 6

ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Australopithecus Garhi, Organic Matter, Paranthropus Boisei


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTHROP 1AA3
Professor
Andrew Wade
Lecture
6

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Lecture 6:
Paleoanthropologists:
· Study of ancient humans found in fossils
· Hominid: humans and their direct ancestors, key feature: bipedalism
· Multidisciplinary: experts from various scientific disciplines work together
· Physical sciences (geology-rocks), biological sciences (anatomy), social sciences
(language development)
What are fossils?
· Organic material (bone) is replaced by minerals from surrounding soil-petrifaction
(turning to stone)
· any remains of life preserved in rocks
· Can be impressions, foot prints
· Earliest hominid fossils found in Africa (Mainly East and South)
Ardipithecus ramidus:
· One of the earliest Hominids known
· Around 5.8-5.2 mya
· Ape-like dentition and skull
· Primitive but fully hominid dental complex (same number of and teeth as we have)
· enamel thinner than later hominids
· opposable big toe- lacks flexibility more adapted for walking bipedaly
· not certain if bipedal, or bipedal all the time
· lived in forest environment, therefore bipedalism developed in a forest setting impo.
For understanding b/c thought developed in savannah-like setting in order to look over
tall grass for predators
· in Ethiopian fossils establish a unique like with chimps, through bodies (teeth, skull)
What does a Hominid Look Like?
· Small front teeth, large molars
· Bipedalism and associated anatomical adaptations
· Manual dexterity (good with manipulating things with their fingers)
Australopithecus afarensis:
· Around 3.6-3.0 mya
· “Lucy”
o Most complete example available (around 40% preserved)
o ‘S’ shaped spine
o broad pelvis
o femur that bended inward at the knee
o all bipedal features, but still showed primitive skull and dental features
· Laetoli footprints:
o Found in Tanzania (1978)
o Consistent with bipedalism
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