Biological Anthropology 1st Lecture

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7 Apr 2011
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19:13
October 14, 2010
Primate and Human Evolution
General patterns of morphology and phylogenetics for fossil primates
What a hominin is in terms of taxonomy
Morphological trends in hominin evolution
Bipedalism
Expansion in brain size
Changes in dental/cranial features
Earth Plate Tectonics (know order)
Pleistocene
Miocene
Oligocene
Eocene
Paleocene
65.5 to 55.8 years ago (MYA millions of years ago) (KYA thousands od years)
Paleocene Primates
Geography and climate
Very different from present day conditions (10 degress now, 3x hotter then)
largely covered in forest, high water levels, humidity
When we think the first primates showed up
Plesiadapiformes
Body size: tiny, shrew-sized to size of small dog
Niche: likely solitary, nocturnal quadrupeds; well-developed sense of smell
Diet: insects and seeds
Used to be classified as primates because of the teeth and limbs that are adapted
for arboreal lifestyle
Phenetic based on looks
Phylogenetic common decent patterns
Why not primates
No postorbital bar
Claws instead of nails
Eyes placed on side of head
Enlarged incisors
They are primates!
Molecular clock: evolution per million years
Eocene
56 million years ago until 33.9
Hottest, wettest, most humid time ever, in the beginning of this period
Consistent pattern of decline in presipitation, avg. temp of 20 c
Two Major Primate families
Adapidae
Body size: 100g to 6900g
Diurnal and nocturnal forms
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Mainly arboreal quadrupeds, soe may have been specialized leapers
Smaller adapids ate mostly fruit and insects, larger forms ate leaves and fruit
Led to lemurs?
Omomyidae
Body size: 45g to 2500g
Some nocturnal others diurnal
Omomyids thought to have been specialized leapers
Teeth: adapted for eating insects and soft fruits, only few species were leaf eaters
Led to tarsiers?
Oligocene
Increase in tempersture towards the end of period
Primates
Three haplorhine features
Fused frontal bone
Full postorbital closure
Fused mandibular symphasis
Three taxonomic groups (New World Monkeys)
Parapithecidae
Propliopithecidae
Platyrrhini
South American Primates
Primates appear for first time in fossil record of South America towards late end
of century
Origins of South America primate are unclear
May have rafted over from Africa storm (maybe not so crazy)
Miocene
23 to 5.3 million years ago
looks like modern day world
spike and dip in temperature
Primates
3 sequential sub-epochs for apes
Early Miocene apes
(23 to 16 mya) ,pkeys and apes apparently confined to Africa
Ex. Proconsul
Mid Miocene
(16-11 mya) aple-like catarrhines wide spread and diverse in Europe and Asia
Ex. Dryopithecus
Late Miocene
(11.6- 5.3 mya) apes became rarer in woodlands and forests replaced by drier and
more open habitats
Ex. Sivapithecus
Pliocene
5.3 to 1.8 mya
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