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ANTHROP 1AA3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Foramen Magnum, Paranthropus, Tooth Wear

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Tracy Prowse
Study Guide

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Anthropology 1AA3-Winter Final Exam Review
Material Required:
- Film „Codes of Gender‟
- Early humans (pp.223-247)
- Trends in globalization/development (pp.270-282)
- Sex and Gender (pp.40-52)
- Gender in the archaeological record (pp.47-81)
- Cultural aspects of food (meanings, food taboos) (pp. 97-110, but NOT 102-107)
- Subsistence (pp.110-130)
- Agriculture and animal domestication (pp.131-150)
What is Bioarchaeology? (Text pp. 197 210)
- The study of the human skeleton in an archaeological context.
- It deals with the excavation and analysis of human skeletal remains.
o Health
o Diet
o Habitual Activities
o Mobility
• Look for patterns within and between populations
How do we look at health?
- Paleopathology study of health and disease in past populations
- Only those conditions that leave traces on the skeleton
- How diseases have evolved overtime, and how diseases processes affect bone
growth and development.
- Patterns of illness and disease relate to cultural aspects
o Sex
o Age
o Status
o Time
o Health nutritional deficiencies (conditions that individuals have lived with for a
period of time)
o Rockets-bending and fractures of bones caused by lack of vitamin D
o Common in the industrial period, particular in the UK.
o Associated with increased activity in factories, children were not getting sufficient
amounts of Vitamin D.
o Bones are not able to mineralize properly therefore, they become weak. The
pressure of walking causes bones to bend.
How do we look at diet?
- Most common way is to look at the teeth because teeth are usually involved in the first
stages of food processing by the body
- It follows that they my provide clues to the types of food eaten and the ways in which
those foods were prepared for consumption.
They can show infections or heavy tooth wear.

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E.g. heavy tooth wear: Tough and fibrous foods, such as uncooked meats and
Tooth wear is also caused due to poor cleaning or the mechanics food storage or
Severe tooth wear suffered by hunter foraging is due to the consumption of raw or
lightly cooked meats, tubers and fruits.
Food doesn‟t cause cavity, but the bacteria that produces acid.
E.g. increase in dental caries overtime is due to the increase consumption sugary
beverages and food.
More cavities with settled agriculturists, and more tooth wear with hunter-foragers.
How do we look at work?
- E.g., activity markers such as Auditory exostoses (ear and the production of some sort
of bone)
o Often an obstruction in the opening of the ear in which people are often
submerged in cold water (surfers for example)
High prevalence of this in Roman populations
o Male Romans would take baths (3 temperatures) and end by immersing
themselves in cold water.
- Squatting facets (ankle region)
5th B.C. Italian Skeleton (young adult female)
o Many changes in her skeleton that were characteristic
o Arthritic hip, activity on her elbow region changes on her hand bones,
knees, and her big toe
o Repeated stressors on the parts of the bone could suggest constant habitual
squatting due to grinding grain.
o Try to understand what caused trauma
o E.g. Cervical vertebra (neck region)
A cut mark was found on the
o E.g. Blunt trauma to a skull (can be associated with not only violence, but
regular accidental injuries)
o Intentional cultural modifications (may occur before or after death)
Foot binding
Dental modifications for example: Mayan skull with dental inlays of gems
(often a display of wealth and status)
Trephination (the surgical removal of a portion of the cranial vault in order
to cure headaches, epilepsy or mental illness or magical or spiritual reasons.)
Most examples come from Peru; most of the examples show evidence of
Developed in Medieval times however, still exists today
One of the earliest known medical practices
What are Fossils?
o Organic material (e.g., bone), is replaced by minerals from surrounding soil.

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What does a hominid look like?
- These different primate species present a range of distinctive features in their teeth,
jaws, and brains that represent adaptations to varying environments.
- Small front teeth & large molars, reduction of face, jaw, and anterior teeth.
- Bipedalism (key characteristic) & associated anatomical adaptations are the
characteristics that separate them from other primates and identify them as a
distinct family.
- They are the closest fossil relatives of modern humans.
- Increased manual dexterity
Major Features of Bipedalism-it is reflected in skeletal structure
1 - Position of foramen magnum (the opening in the base of the skull through which the
spinal cord passes)
- In quadrupeds foramen magnum is located at the back of the skull
- In bipedal animals foramen magnum is located on the bottom of the skull.
2. Hominid spine has two distinctive curves (S-shaped)
3. Shape and structure of the pelvis broad and low
4. Shape and structure of the foot/ knee (arch)
5. Longer lower limbs
Earliest evidence for bipedalism: The appearance of bipedalism in hominids is evident
in the fossil record from sometime between 6 million and 10 million years ago.
Ardipithecus ramidus (5.8-5.2 mya): a primitive hominin, known from fossils from
How can we tell if early hominids were bipedal?
- Foramen magnum
- Shape of vertebral column
- Shape/structure of pelvis and lower limb (leg and foot)
- Longer lower limbs
Why Did Bipedalism Develop?
1. Tool-use: one of the earliest theories suggested it evolved because it freed the hands to
make tools.
- Early hominids lack sharp teeth, the ability to use tools would have given them
access to greater variety of food sources, and thus ensuring increased survival and
ultimate reproductive success.
- NO earliest tools date to 2.5 million years ago where as the origin of bipedalism
can be traced back at least 6 -10 million years ago.
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