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Oct. 29 Notes

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Michael Chazan

Hadar sites:  earliest known stone tools  in the strata, its between the BKT-2 tuff and the BKT-3 tuff  just choppers and flakes Four genii in this period, all existing at the same time in a radiation event:  Kenyanthropus  Australopithecus  Paranthropus  Homo habilis All adapted to different niches, MUST be specialized to explain this degree of differentiation. But we don’t understand very well what those differences were. Kenyanthropus – 3.5mya, not many fossils Australopithecus – good amount of fossils, changes in dentition, gracile bodied but with large jaws. At least two species, one in South Africa and one in East Africa Paranthropus – is a specialist, looks like Darth Vader. Massive sagittal crest, flared cheeks to anchor huge chewing muscles. Adapted to crushing seeds and chewing vegetation. Variation within this genus with separate species in South Africa and East Africa. Homo habilis – looks a lot like Australopithecines, but have slightly larger brain size. Are first representatives of our genus.  Can we assume that because Homo habilis has a larger brain size that they made the first stone tools? Nope.  Association alone doesn’t solve this problem, and it remains unclear exactly how to solve this tool. Lokalalei- Turkana, Kenya  horizontal excavation  can be placed in time, younger than 2.4mya and older than 2.34mya  faunal remains  492 whole flakes  751 broken flakes  13 retouched flakes  72 cores  the spread of artifacts lets us start to see how the site was set up  by fitting flakes back onto their cores, you eventually find out that there was a sequence of knapping. They were coming to the site, making stone tools, and leaving everything behind when done. Taphonomy:  the study of what happens to animal remains between death and fossilization  differential survival of bones  cut marks, chew marks, acid etching from digestion  fracture patterns  which bones survive? (vertebrae don’t often survive, as they are spongy, degrade, and float)  under what conditions do which bones survive?  Hata Member, Middle Awash, Ethiopia 2.5mya: cut marks and hammer stone marks. There are no stone tools there, which could indicate that the people had toolkits and took their tools with them. Homo erectus:  in a way, H. erectus marks the turning point in human evolution  smaller brain size than modern humans and Neanderthals  distinctive brow ridge, thicker than modern humans and Neanderthals  marks a significant increase in brain size from H. habilis  its brain size is not like a chimpanzee, and not like a modern human, so we know its cognitively different from both, but archaeologists are still trying to figure out wtf to do with that information  it remains unclear whether the cognitive changes included language or not  there is a cost to a larger brain, as H. erectus has to offset the energy that goes towards supporting the brain  H. erectus appears to be inhabiting and exploiting all the niches that the other genera from the radiation period occupied  This species colonizes new environments Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania  Excavated by Lewis and Mary Leakey  Ancient lakebeds  Gorge cuts into anci
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