ANT100Y1Y Outline for BIO Lecture #5
What to “Get” Today
General patterns of morphology for some key fossil hominins.
Main hypotheses on human origins.
How evolutionary anthropologists refute human race concepts.
What forensic anthropology is and how it relates to applied anthropology
Some Key Australopithecines: The First “Real” Hominins
Kanapoi, Kenya. 4.2–3.9 MYA.
Tooth row is parallel (ape-like).
Partial tibia provides strong evidence for bipedality.
Primitive (ape-like) cranial morphology and a derived (human-like) postcranial morphology.
Ethiopia (Hadar, Omo, and Fejej) and Tanzania (Laetoli).
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?
o3.6 MYA in Laetoli, Tanzania.
oDemonstrate that early hominins were bipedal.
oBig toes hardly diverged from the rest of foot, unlike in chimpanzees.
oGait was "heel-strike" followed by "toe-off"; the way modern humans walk.
Various sites in South Africa.
3.0–2.3 MYA. Average brain size is 458 cc.
Dental features differ from those in A. afarensis.
Postcranial features similar to those in A. afarensis.
West Turkana, Kenya.
Large face, huge zygomatics, large skull crests, and enormous teeth.
Remarkably primitive hominin at such a late date; shows evolution is not linear or positive
Olduvai, Tanzania. 2.2–1.2 MYA.
Morphology broadly similar to that seen in A. aethiopicus.
Contemporaneous with members of the genus Homo.
Swartkrans and Kromdraai, South Africa.
2–1 MYA. Another robust form.
Small anterior teeth and large posterior teeth, which are covered in thick enamel.
Gracile and Robust Forms?
Gracile Australopithecines (thin)
Robust Australopithecines (thick)
Rise of the genus Homo
Earliest evolved in Africa.
Most date 2.4 to 1.8 MYA.
First fossil member of taxon: Homo habilis, which means “Handy man.”
Some researchers suggest that H. habilis is “junk taxon” and that there may be two or more
species of Homo by 2.0 MYA.
Species in the Genus Homo
From sites in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia (2.3-1.6 MYA).
Species designation: brain size and association with stone tools.
Skeletal morphology similar to contemporaneous australopithecines.
First species of Homo or junk taxon?
May represent 2 or more different species (H. rudolfensis & H. habilis).
Koobi Fora, Kenya.
Originally considered H. habilis.
H. rudolfensis or H. habilis first representative of our genus?
First species in genus Homo found outside Africa (Asia and Southeast Asia).
1.8 MYA-27 KYA.
Brain and body size changes in lineage.
Controlled use of fire and hunting.
Early African specimens may be different species, Homo ergaster
Earliest African specimens.
Turkana boy: adult height estimate, limb proportions, and predicted strength.
Debate on H. erectus or H. ergaster as direct ancestor of modern humans.
Europe and Africa.
700–130 KYA. Powerful fast dangerous
Compared to H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis:
Dentition. Brain size. Body size.
Spain. 1.2 MYA – 800 KYA.
Controversy surrounding species designation.
Type specimen is juvenile. 1st hominin in Europe?
Europe and Middle East (300 – 35 KYA). Evolved outside of Africa; largest brains
Buried people in graves with “offerings” (e.g., fragrant flowers). Looks similar to us
Limb bones heavily marked by muscular attachments; thick walls of cortical bone & large joints.
Neanderthals extremely muscular, highly active, & athletic by modern human standards.
Evolutionary dead end (branch out towards sapiens, other way to Neanderthal, coexisted)
Genetics of Neanderthals versus modern humans point to a 700 KYA separation & considerable
genetic variation. Some consensus: Neanderthals represent unique species: Homo
Flores Island, Indonesia. 95 – 13 KYA. Hobbit. Coexisted with sapiens
Small body size (ca. 1.06 m). Small brain size. Primitive and derived features.
NOT aberrant individual; rather, unique species.
160 KYA in Africa, 100 KYA in Middle East, 40 KYA in Europe.
Controlled use of fire. Hunting and gathering.