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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 & 5 -- Human Evolution.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT 2000
Professor
Elyse Anderson
Semester
Fall

Description
Human Evolution  If hominid isn’t mentioned in lecture, don’t need to learn about it!  Primate evolution = o First primates (65 mya) inhabited North America and Eurasia (close at time) o (40 mya) diurnal primates appear, separation of Old and New World species o First fossil apes or hominoids appear 23 mya in Asia, Africa, and Europe (now made direct contact, hadn’t previous 100 mya) o Hominoid = all living/extinct apes and humans o Continental drift = in the theory of plate tectonics, the movement of continents embedded in underlying plates on the earth’s surface in relation to one another over the history of life on earth o Gibbons were first to diverge followed by orangutans; between 5-8 mya, humans, chimps, and gorillas followed separate evolutionary courses o Bipedalism = a special form of locomotion on two feet in humans and their ancestors; is what distinguishes our ancestors from other hominoids, not our brains (at least initially) o Identifying bipedalism = skull position relative to spinal column (position of foramen magnum); curvature of the spine; shape of the pelvis (wider and foreshortened, femur angles in); shape of foot (arches and lack of opposable big toe, shorter toes) o Benefits of bipedalism = use of your arms while moving/free hands lets you carry food, infants (!!); considered an adaptation to living in savannah; more long-distance stamina; lowers chance of overheating; see farther (spot food and predators)  Arpicthecus ramidus = o (4.4 mya) earliest known ancestor, “Ardi” o Discovered in Ethiopia (1992-1995), announced 2009 because spent 15+ years excavating the site around it and finding as much info as possible, also knew it would be controversial putting it out there o People debate her placement within the human line (her? Inexact science so not sure) o Has grasping big toe o Inhabited forest environment like contemporary apes o Facultative biped (bipedal on the ground and quadruped in the trees)  How do they date fossils? = o Potassium-argon dating = employs principle of radioactive decay of isotope K40 into Ar40; half-life of 1.26kkk years; acts as measure of time o Therefore, fossils not dated directly; date volcanic rocks or ash falls they are associated with o Preservation conditions =  Influences likelihood of recovery = good: dry, hot climates or very cold environments (anaerobic environments because inhibits growth of organics); bad: hot/moist environments, areas with major seasonal changes (wet and dry cycle)  Material of object = organic materials do not preserve as well as non-organic materials  Australopithecines = o 5/4-1 mya o Inhabited savannah, while Ardi in trees o Fossils found along eastern edge of Africa o Sexually dimorphic (significant difference between male and females sexually), bipedal, long arms, curved toe bones o Two types of australopithecines = robust and gracile o Robust australopithecines = have large back teeth and large muscles associated with chewing, plant eaters o Gracile australopithecines = more delicate chewing apparatus, plant and meat eaters (scavenged) o Lucy = arguably the most famous Australopithecine; found in 1970s in Ethiopia; what is rare is that she is 60% complete (why is so famous); 3 ft. 7 inches, 64lbs  Homo habilis = o 2.5-1.4 mya o Similar to australopithecines, except smaller teeth size and brain is significantly bigger o First discovered at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, by Mary and Louis Leakey o One huge behavioral difference = allegedly first to use stone tools o Oldowan tool tradition = first stone tool industry beginning around 2.6-2.5 mya (remember, cannot date the stone tool itself, so dated by association!) o Oldowan tools =  Made from river-worn cobbles  Hammerstone = tool used to strike the stone  Core stone = stone that is being struck; will eventually be the tool  Flakes = pieces of the stone that come off  Strike off sharp-edged flakes from surface of stone core to produce choppers  Some argue australopithecines made these… = not a very popular belief because homo habilis was the first to really make tools which shows how humans are distinct (have bigger brains and therefore more cognitive thought power), not australopithecines  Man the hunter? =  Oldowan tools frequently associated with animal remains that have cut marks  Big theme of 1960s (we evolved to be hunters)  Robert Blumenschine = analyzed placement of cut marks and body part distribution (marks on the remains showed the parts removed were done after hunter had gotten to it first; also, body parts removed from the remains were not the best parts, were like the ankle instead of the meaty thigh, etc.)  Conclusion = THEY WERE SCAVENGERS  Habilis were prey, some argue prompted selection for increased brain size  Homo erectus = o First discovered by Eugene Dubois, 1891, in Indonesia o Body size proportional to humans, heavier musculature; brain size range (high end of habilis to lower range of modern humans; modern dentition) o Not confined to just Africa; fossils located in Georgia, China, Indonesia, and Europe o 2 mya to 143,000 ya o Expansion coincides with major climatic shift = period of global cooling (arctic conditions); fluctuating periods of glacial and non-glacial conditions o Pleistocene epoch = 1.8 mya to 12,000 ya o A lot of variation in skeletal material = comparable to modern human diversity o Use of fire =  Enabled moving into colder climates  Evidence of use by 1 mya  Wonderwerk Cave, S. Africa = intact oxidized sediments (with burned bone and ash remains)  Benefits = frightens predators; continue work after dark; warmth and light; cook food o Acheulean tool tradition =  1.6 mya to 100,000 ya  Hand axes, cleavers, scrappers (process hides to use them)  Retouch = more efficient use of material (resharpening the edge); developed beyond the Oldowan tools; shows choosing appropriate material to do the jobs  Spear hunting technology = 400,000 years old; in peat bog in Germany  Organizational abilities = evidence of use of fire to drive large animals into swamps for killing (Ambrona, Spain); shows high level thinking because have to know how to control/use fire and to work as a group since cannot do it with ju
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