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Anthropology fall term

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Shawn Lehman

Lecture 4: Primate and Early Human Evolution 10/11/2012 2:11:00 PM Lecture Goals  General patterns of morphology and phylogentics for fossil primates  What a hominin is in terms of taxonomy  Morphological trends in hominin evolution: o Bipedalism o Exampnsion in brain size o Changes in dental/cranial features Earth: Plate Tectonics  The earth is constantly changing and will continue to constantly change o Massive effects Paleocene 66.5 to 55.8 million years ago  “primates”  geography and climate o very different from present-day conditions o hotter more humid  Paleocene and primate like mammals: plesiadapiformes o Body size: tiny, shrew-sized to size of small dog o Niche: likely solitary nocturnal duqdrupeds; well-developed sense of smell o Diet: insects and seeds o Largely nocturnal (known by the size of their eye orbits compared to their brains o Due to the size of their skull they most likely relied on their sense of smell o Used to be classified as primates because of primate-like teeth and limbs that are adapted for arboreal lifestyle o First discoved in 1940’s/50’s  Were first thought to be the earliest kinds of primates  Recent: plesiadapids are not primates (began in 1960’s/70’s)  No postorbital bar  Claws instead of nails  Eyes placed on side of head  Enlarged incisors Eocene 55.8 to 33.9 million years ago  Two main Eocene primate families o Adapidae  Body size: 100 g to 6900 g  Diurnal and nocturnal forms  Mainly arboreal duqdrupeds, some may have been specialized leapers  Smaller adapids ate mostly fruit and insects, largers forms ate more fruit and leaves  Smallers and fruit and insects  Larger ate more fruit and leaves  One of the few animals to be capable of digesting leaves o Remarkable adaptation  Led to lemurs? o Omomyidae  Body size of 45 g to 2500 g  Some nocturnal others diurnal  Omomyids thought to been specialized leapers  Teeth: adapted for eating insects and soft fruits, only a few species were leaf-eaters  Modern day tarcers? Oligocene 33.9 to 23.0 million years ago  Geographical o South America meets up with central America and blocks off ocean currents between the atlantic and pacific ocean o North America is starting to appear as it does modern day o India is still slowly moving towards euroasia  Oligocene Primates o Three haplorhine features:  Fused frontal bone  Full postorbital closure  Fused mandibular symphasis o Three taxonomic groups  Parapithecidae  Propliopithecidae  Platyrrhini  South American Primates o Primates appear for first time in fossil record of south America towards late Oligocene o Origins of south American primate unclear o They appeared out of the blue  Best guess  May have “rafted” over from Africa Miocene  Geography and climate o Land mass in Europe opens and closes continuesly over time o Space between Africa and asia also opens and closes over time  Miocene primates o 3 sequential sub-epochs for apes  early Miocene apes  mid Miocene apes  late Miocene apes o Miocene monkeys (see textbook)  Early 23.0-16 million years ago o Monkeys and apes apparently confined to Africa  Oceans and seas prevented migration  As land mass changed there was the opportunity for some to migrate slowly to other parts of the world over 100 of years (not Americas though)  Middle 16-11.6 million years ago o Ape-like catarrhines widespread and diverse in Europe and asia  Late 11.6-5.3 million years ago o Apes became rarer as woodlands and forests replaced by drier and more open habitats Pliocene  5.3 to 1.8 million years ago P
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