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Hominins, human Variation, & Forensic Anthropology

Course Code
Christopher Watts

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Australopithecus anamensis
-4.2-4.3 million years ago
-Tooth row is parallel ( ape like)
-Partial tibia provides strong evidence for bipedality
-Primitive (ape like) cranial morphology and a derived (human like) postcranial
Australopithecus afarensis
-Ethiopia and Tanzania
-4.2-3.0 MYA
-Many specimens
-Complex morphology exhibiting some ape like traits (e.g. sagittal crests) and hominin
like traits (e.g. valgus knee)
-Single, sexually dimorphic species or two species?
-Demonstrate that early hominins were bipedal
-Big toes hardly diverged from the rest of foot, unlike in chimpanzees
-Gait was “heel strike followed by “toe off”; the way modern humans walk
Australopithecus africanus
-Various sites in south Africa
-3.0-2.3 mya
-Average brain size is 458cc.
-Dental features differ from those in A. Afarensis

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-Postcranial features similar to those in A. Afarensis
Australopithecus aethiopicus
-2.7-2.3 mya
-Large face, huge zygomatics, large skull crests, and enormous teeth
-Remarkably primitive hominin at such a late date
Australopithecus boisei
-hyper-robust hominin
-Morphology broadly similar to that seen in A. Aethiopicus
-Contemporaneous with members of the genus Homo
Australopithecus robustus
-South Africa
-Another robust form
-Small anterior teeth and large posterior teeth, which are covered in thick enamel
Gracile and robust forms?
Gracile Australopithecines
-Australopithecus afarensis
-Australopithecus africanus

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Robust Australopithecines
-Australopithecus boisei
-Australopithecus robusts
Rise of the gene homo
-Earliest evolved in east Africa
-Most date 2.4-1.8 mya
-First fossel member of taxon: Homo habilis, which means “handy man”
-Some researchers suggest that H. Habilis isjunk taxon” and that there may be two or
more species of homo
Homo habilis
-Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia
-Species designation: brain size and association with stone tools
-Skeletal morphology similar to contemporary Australopithecines
-First species of homo or junk taxon?
-May represent 2 or more different species (h. Rudolfensis & h. Habilis)
Homo rudolfensis
-Originally considered h. Habilis
-H. Rudolfensis or h. Habilis first
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