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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 (In class video)

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Genevieve Dewar

ANTA01 Lecture 9 VIDEO: Walking with Cavemen •Journeying back to understand the evolution that took place from ape to man •Focusing on a species who are the ancestors of us today – Afarensis (sp?) •They have the ability to walk on two feet •Their behaviour is extremely similar to apes, but they have the capacity to walk on two feet – this has happened because of changes in the world •These changes occurred beneath the sea – ocean floor shifting •All life forms have had to keep up with the to changes of the earth •Why do they use two feet? Obvious advantages of seeing further and walking faster, however it also makes them more visible to predators as well. In this sense, two feet do not make them quicker – so what is the true evolutionary advantage? •Making babies •Sex and raising babies are the key to survival, and anything to contributes to the energy required for those tasks is considered a benefit. Walking upright does give them that extra energy and therefore it is an evolutionary advantage •It saves energy after childbirth and allows them to recover more quickly – so much so that they may have time to have one more child on average (with the amount of energy they have saved) •The extra child may be the difference between survival and extinction, therefore it is a trait that has been passed on •Leaping forward 40 thousand generations (Boysei – sp?) •Varieties in food are the explanation for why there was such a diverse amount of ape-men at the time. Boysei were able to survive during the dry months because of the food they ate (available during all seasons) •Boysei cannot resist termites (as we can tell by the meat in their teeths) •Habillus found it harder to survive during the long, dry months, because they didn't have the jaw/structure to eat the plants that the Boysei could eat •They were forced to try new methods of finding food – followed the grouping of the vultures and found the carcasses of other animals (they ate meat, Boysei did not) •Boysei are unable to build shelters (they were troubled by the rain) •Boysei are successful so long as their environment does not change (obviously this is not the case – they are surrounded by change). The world eventually changes into an environment that the Boysei are incapable of living in – evolutionary dead end •Habillus play a different role in the evolution of humans today. They are more adaptable than Boysei. Habillus are the first species to develop the use of stone tools (gives them a wide range of abilities); the fact that they ate meat was beneficial as well (protein helped to grow their brains). They would clean the carcasses and then use their stone tools to break open the bones and have bone marrow as well (which vultures were unable to reach). •Their ability to adapt and use their surroundings to their advantage are traits that helped them survive through time, and eventually evolve into human beings •An ape man appeared in SouthernAfrica who is capable of doing what Habillus does, only better. Called Homo Egaster – sp?) - they are the next step in the evolution of humans •They have huge brains (we inherit our brain size from Egaster) •We have obtained the ability to unlock clues of our environment from seemingly unrelated factors around us from Egaster (e.g. tracking; cloud types, etc) •Bigger brains allowed Egaster to advance their tools as well (stone axes) – and because the axes were found all over, it shows that they were able to teach others how
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