ANTH 0780 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, Homo Heidelbergensis

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6 Feb 2017
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Lecture 2 The First Humans
Paleoanthropology
-Using fossil and artifacts, paleoanthropologists study early human evolution
-5000 BP: writing, metals
-10,000: bow and arrow
-31,000: art in Europe
-250,000: fire in use
-2,000,000: stone toolmaking, hunting and gathering, bipedalism begins
Biological Evolution
-Darwinism:
-Linear evolution: apes humans
-Charles Darwin searched for the missing link between apes and humans
-In reality, it is more complex than just one missing link
-Evolutionary change is often described as differential reproductive success, and natural selection is the
principal, though not the exclusive, mechanism responsible for it
-I eah great regio of the orld the liig aals are losel related to the etit speies of the
same region. It is, therefore, probable that Africa closely allied to the gorilla and chimpanzee; and as
these to speies are o as earest allies, it is soehat ore proale that our earl progeitors
lived on the African continent than elsewhere -Darwin
Humans
-5 Ma: first fossil Hoiodea related to us oo aestor of great apes
-Primates (order): Having grasping hands, flexible limbs, and a highly developed sense of vision
(includes: lemurs, tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans)
-65 mya (first primate): early primates began as tree-dwelling insect-eaters
-We are members of the family Hominoidea (25 mya), the taxonomic group that includes apes and
humans, because of the shape of our teeth, the absence of a tail, and our swinging arms
-A new group of animals, known as the dryopithecines, emerged during the Miocene epoch some 1712
m.y.a. These creatures had several features, known primarily from the fossil teeth that have survived,
suggesting that they were the probable ancestors of both living apes and humans
-At some point during the later Miocene epoch, after 10 m.y.a., one of these African primate species
took the path toward humanness, as seen in the evidence for more upright posture and smaller canine
teeth
-Genetic and molecular evidence indicates that early humans were most closely related to chimpanzees
and that we began to diverge from the chimpanzee lineage between 6 and 5 m.y.a.
-Features of humans: upright walking, opposable thumbs, precise movement, small/flat teeth, lack fur,
pronounced nose, large brain, advanced linguistics,
The Genetic Tree
-Modern humans are members of the family Homininae of the genus Homo and the species sapien
-New fossil finds have forced a reconsideration of the terms because it becomes harder to distinguish
the first humans from their closest relatives among the apes
-Hominoid: A descriptive term for any human or ape, past or present, characterized by teeth shape, the
absence of a tail, and swinging arms
-Hominid: An obsolete term that refers to the human members of the primates, both fossil and modern
forms
-Hominin: A current term that refers to the human, chimp, and gorilla members of the primates, both
fossil and modern forms
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-All hominins are hominids, but not all hominids are hominins (orangutans are not hominins but
hominids)
-Our closest relatives are the chimpanzees and the bonobos and we are not very far apart compared
with some of the other species
The Fossil Record
Miocene (17-12 mya):
-Dryopithecines: arboreal/quadruped, centered in Africa, Asia, and Europe
Gap in Fossil Record (11-5 mya)
-Problem period
-Before: quadrupeds, after: bipeds; what link?
Sahelanthropus tchandensis (7-6mya)
-Found in the Lake Chad basin (Late Miocene era)
-Flat fae ad haitual ipedalis distiguish the Chad specimen as a human ancestor
-Ape-hua like raiu, teeth
-Habitual bipedalism means the species normally moves on two feet (e.g., humans). Facultative
bipedalism means that the species is able to move on two feet (e.g., chimpanzees and gorillas)
-Oldest known ancestor
Orrorin Tugenesis (6mya)
-Found in Kenya
- A CAT scan of the fossil femur (thighbone) indicated habitual bipedalism
-Arm bones tree climbing
-Thik eael like a huas, hereas Ardipitheus has thin enamel more closely resembling
that of other chimps and gorillas.
Ardipithecus ramidus (4.4+ mya)
-Major discovery in 1990s - Middle Awash area of Ethiopia
-Exhibits a combination of human and chimpanzee-like features
-Habitual bipedalism
-Fragments from approx. 17 individuals
-Sepcimen: Ardi 4ft tall, 110 lbs
-Long arms and flexible hands
Kenyapithecus platyops (3.5 mya)
-New genus and species
- Flat, humanlike face but an ape-size brain
Australopithecus Anamensis (4 mya)
-Transitional form between A.ramidus and A.afarensis
-Mosaic: human-like and ape-like features
-Approx 80 individuals
Austrolopithecus afarensis (3.9 3.0 mya)
-Size variation
-Biedal (lower) and arboreal (upper)
-Exhibits more humanlike teeth and unquestionably walked upright
-Australopithecine: the generic term for the various species of the genus Australopithecus, including A.
ramidus, A. afarensis, and A. africanus.
- Examination of the anatomy of the wrist, shoulder, pelvis, and thigh of the early australopithecines
indicates a pattern of movement, or locomotion, different from that of both the modern apes and
humans
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