Class Notes (839,113)
Canada (511,191)
Anthropology (1,688)
ANT203Y1 (69)
Lecture 14

Lecture 14 - Reconstructing early hominid behaviour and ecology - January 22.docx

7 Pages

Course Code
Keriann Mc Googan

This preview shows pages 1 and half of page 2. Sign up to view the full 7 pages of the document.
January 22, 2013. Lecture 14 - Reconstructing early hominid behaviour and ecology This Class  What is a hominin?  Paleoanthropology o What is it? o Olduvai Gorge o Dating Methods  Experimental Archaeology  Early Hominin Environments and Behaviour What is a hominin?  Members of the evolutionary group that includes modern humans and now extinct bipedal relatives  Features: o Tooth and jaw dimensions o Bipedal locomotion o Large brain size o Tool-making  Mosaic evolution: different patterns of evolution evolving at different rates (e.g. locomotion, brain, dentition, tool-making behaviour) Biocultural Evolution  Culture: “non-body” adaptations to the environment, including systematic learned behaviours that can be communicated to others  Human culture (no other primate is as reliant as cultural context as humans) o Material culture e.g. tool-making Paleoanthropology  The study of ancient humans  Multi-disciplinary o Physical sciences o Biological sciences o Social sciences  1. Surveys to locate potential sites o Aerial or satellite imagery o Surface techniques  Walking through a particular area to see what is there, to find artifacts, signs/signals, irregularities, anything indicating a presence of ancient community etc.  Artifacts: objects or materials made or modified for use by hominins (e.g. stone tools) o How are sites located?  Natural processes  By accident  E.g. construction  Known geological contexts  Fossils are only found within regions with the right circumstances for fossilization  2. Concentrated Research of Site o Fossil locale: area where fossilized remains of plants or animals are found o Field crews continue to survey the site and gain information on geology and ecology of the region  Carefully scour and analyze the area, figure out where things are found and why, find out information about the geological context, study layout and plant life  3. Fossil Excavation o Fossil: hardened remains of animal’s skeletal structure o Steps to fossil excavation:  1. Uncover fossils using picks and shovels  2. Brushes and small toothpick sized picks to remove easily removed debris  3. Coat actual fossil parts in protectant film/liquid  4. Acid bath o Paleoecology: what was the surrounding habitat like?  Trying to reconstruct past environment using known and observed data  Determine what the ecosystem was like using fossil pollen and inferring the circumstances of the area based on what plant life was growing there Olduvai Gorge  Louis and Mary Leakey  Serengeti Plain of Northern Tanzania  Used to be a lake  One of the most rich sources of paleolithic remains, huge source of information for hominin evolutionary history o Wealth of hominin remains and fossilized animal bones  Geological processes: have made it easy (ish) to date discovered artifacts/fossils o 1. Faulting  Exposes geological beds close to the surface  Therefore exposes fossils and made it possible for us to discover them o 2. Active volcanic processes  Rapid sedimentation  Preserved/created fossils  Radiometrically datable material Relative Dating Methods  Stratigraphy o Stratums: within geology, layers of rock/ground o Differentiating between different sedimentary layers o Oldest layers are deeper/lower in the sediment deposit o Fossils found within a specific layer can be placed on a basic timeline using inferences about geological processes that created these layers  F-U-N Trio o Fluorine, Uranium, Nitrogen o Only applies to bone o Bones and teeth undergo a change/transformation in their chemical composition when they have been buried for long periods of time o Mineral content of the groundwater in the area that they are buried impacts the chemical composition of these bones and teeth o Exposed to slow seepage of groundwater, most of which contains Fluorine o Measure amount of fluorine found in bones/teeth; more fluorine, probably been buried longer o Same with Uranium o Relationship is reversed with Nitrogen; older the fossil, the SMALLER the amount of Nitrogen found in it o As time passes components of the bone are lost, components that contain Nitrogen o Useful when can’t use Stratigraphy method o Problem is that mineral content is only applicable to the AREA, cannot compare fossils across different sites  Palynology o Fossil pollen analysis o Found in various layers/stratums o Inferences made using surrounding pollen fossils to determine time of animal/hominin fossil  Seriation o Method where assemblages or artifacts from numerous sites in the same culture, are placed in chronological order  Based on style, size, type, etc. o Bell-curve of popularity  E.g. Cell phones: evolution of which could probably be placed on a bell-curve based on something like size if a pile of them was available to observe o Problem: you can’t tell where to start and where to end  E.g. style in pots/vases, could go from large and round to small and narrow or the other way around  Biostratigraphy (Faunal Correlation) o Compare same species from different sites o Similar faunal assemblages are from approximately the same time period o Index fossils  Chronometric/Radiometric Dating o Based on the principle that “parent” atoms of a radioactive element decay at a known and constant rate into “daughter” atoms of another element.  E.g. K to A o Half-life: the time required for half of the atoms of a radioactive element to decay. o The ratio of “parent” to “daughter” atoms is directly related to the amount of time elapsed = age (a natural clock!) o Ratio of unstable/stable (isotopes) = the age of the sample o Potassium-Argon Dating  K/Ar dating  Measure ratio of K40/Ar40, determine age of rock o Dating ROCK, NOT surrounding FOSSILS therefore not 100% accurate  Half-life: 1.3 billion years; works on specimens at least 200,000 years old  BUT cannot measure from same sampl
More Less
Unlock Document

Only pages 1 and half of page 2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Unlock Document
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Unlock Document

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.