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Lecture 10

ANP202 Lecture 10-1

5 Pages

Course Code
ANP 201

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Lecture 10-1 Early Fossil Hominids: Bipedal Anatomy & Pre- Australopithecines and Australopithecines Big Questions 1. What is a hominid? 2. Why did hominids evolve from an apelike primate? 3. Who were the first hominids? 4. What was the evolutionary fate of the first hominids? *Hominid characteristics (that all hominids share) include: -Bipedalism -Non-honing chewing *Non-honing chewing: refers to the way the mouth processes food: less slicing and more grinding. Lack of projecting canine, diastema. More pressure on front portion of chewing muscles *Bipedal locomotion: walking on 2 limbs, involved major skeletal changes. Evolved before large brain size *Anatomy of bipedality -Centered foramen magnum -Lumbar curve* -Broad, short pelvis -Longer legs -Long femur neck -Carrying angle* -Arches in the foot -Non-opposable big toe Costs and Benefits of Bipedalism *Benefits -Can see greater distances -Easier to transport food, children, etc. -Frees hands to use tools *Costs -More visible to predators (?) -Slower than quadrapedalism -Potential for back problems, and greater strain on circulatory system Hominid Evolution *Hominid evolution occurred in Africa in the late Miocene or very early Pliocene *Why did hominids emerge? -3 Major hypotheses: -Hunting hypothesis (Darwin) -Patchy forest hypothesis -Provisioning hypothesis Charles Darwin’s Hunting Hypothesis *Bipedalism had freed the hands for carrying weapons -Weapons relaxed canines -Size of canines diminished *Tool production and use essential for human intelligence and large brain *New evidence shows this not to be the case -Earliest tools date to 2.6mya -Brain expansion dates to after 2mya Patchy Forest Hypothesis (Rodman & McHenry) *Human origins and bipedalism related to the greeter efficiency in some habitats of moving on two limbs rather than four *Bipedalism arose in areas where forests were fragmented and food resources also became scattered *As forests fragmented, bipedalism freed the hands to pick up food allowing for both tree and ground food resources to be exploited Provisioning Hypothesis (Owen Lovejoy) *Freeing the hands was important in allowing males to assist females more efficiently in procuring food -“provisioning” acted as a form of seal competition among males for females *Birth spacing would also be reduced, since females would have to move around less and would have access to greater food resources *Lovejoy’s hypothesis makes the argument for monogamous fathers Sexual Dimorphism and Human Behavior *Many primate species are highly sexually dimorphic, with males larger than females -this is linked to male-male competition *Some scientists see little sexual dimorphism in early hominids -therefore, males would have been more cooperative and less competitive -This would be consistent with the Provisioning Hypothesis *Evidence exists for both the patchy forest and the provisioning hypothesis *Considerable debate over which hypothesis is more likely *Because of the Miocene Gap, it is difficult to find a definitive answer Earliest Fossil Hominids “Pre-Australopithecines” *7-4.4mya *Bipedal but with small brains *3 genera
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