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ANTHROP 1AA3 Final: Hominids - Anthro

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McMaster University

Hominids: • Hominid - Humans and their direct ancestors • Fossils - Organic material is replaced by minerals from surrounding soil - petrification What are the earliest fossils found? • Usually in Africa • Cave chambers Ardipithecus ramidus (4.4 million years ago): • Ethiopia • Very few remains • Not sure where they fall in our evolution • We have 35 remains • Very ape-like, but same number of bones and teeth • The big toe is opposable, not as flexible as chimps though • Possibly bipedal, but not known • Lived in a forest environment, bipedalism may have evolved there What does a hominid look like? • Small front teeth and large molars • Bipedalism and its associated adaptations • Manual dexterity Australopthecus afarensis (4-3 million years ago): • Ethiopia and Tanzania • Lucy fossil • Very short • Species was either very short or had large sex difference between males and females Major Features of Bipedalism: • Position of foramen magnum - more to the front • S shaped spine, two curves, the lumbar and thoracic • Longer thigh, and longer lower limb • Femur angle, angles in, firmly under center of gravity • Arched vs flat foot • Big toe close in, vs wide apart almost dexterous big toe Why did bipedalism develop? • Came long before tool use and brain size expansion • Maybe efficient scavenging? • Or ability to travel long distances? • Predator avoidance? - look over tall grass • Hunting and meat eating • Limit sun exposure, enhanced heat loss, comes with hair loss • Communication The Australopithecines (4-2 million years ago): • Found in east and south Africa • Many different types • More a genus than a specific • Small brains • Bipedal • Large teeth • Thick enamel Paranthropus Boisei (2.5 - 1 million years ago): • Larger brain size • Large chewing muscles • Became extinct 1 million years ago • Wide cheekbones • Very wide face Earliest evidence for Homo? • 2.5 - 1.5 million years Ago • 20% larger brain than that of Australopithecus • Evidence of stone tool use • Heavy dependence on culture Homo Habilis (2.5 - 2 million years ago): • Used very simple stone tools • Large brain compared to Australopithecus • Lived only in Africa Homo naledi (about 3 million years ago): • Possible new species • Possibly earliest ancestor Homo erectus (about 2million to half a million years ago): • Larger body size • Less sexual dimorphism • Wide array of tools
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