Walking with Cavemen - Lec 8.docx

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Genevieve Dewar

Walking with Cavemen th Tuesday November 6 , 2012  Thousands of generations ago… Neanderthals  Ancestors leave fossils, bones and relics to tell us what the past looked like  Neanderthals first near Europeans  Africa – apes to us Australiopithecus afarensis  300 kya  Can stand  Can live as long as 50 years  Leader has strength and leads the group  Not very remarkable  Subject to the laws of nature  Lucy – has children  Battle for territory  Two males contend for supremacy  Afarensis troop has territory like modern day chimps  Isolated aferensis is always vulnerable  Female like Lucy is an easy target  Still very ape-like What made an ape change and start standing?  The world changed  Africa – 8 mya  Ancestor of Lucy  Like modern apes… use hand and feet to move around  How did we know forest was their home?  8 mya Africa was a forest  Transformation of the earth was the catalyst that transformed apes from using four legs to two  Changes the face of the planet  Mountains have extreme effect on weather …. Monsoons  Rain strip air of moisture  Africa – one side was dry and dessert like…  Apes were forced to spend more time on the ground since there were no more trees  Transformed into species like Lucy  Being upright bring obvious advantages o Can stand taller o Can see farther o However it means everything can see her  Eagles will attack them… cannot carry a full grown Lucy… so they will attack babies  Grooming and building relationships  Sex and raising babies are the key to survival  Walking on two legs save energy  Can raise one extra baby… with energy saved  That one extra baby can save them from extinction  To become dominant male… they need the support of the troops  Rival troop attacked Lucy’s territory  When enemy troops surround them… infant is forgotten by everyone… except Lucy  Lucy dies… accidental victim to a territorial fight between two troops  Search for food for a growing brain  Adaptation of standing on two feet had its advantages  Death of one member… became history for scientists that dig her bones up Trike  Boseii  Similar to gorilla  Dominant man… power over female  Intruder must be accepted by dominant male and other females  Homo Habilis… Lived alongside Boseii  Animals … ancestors of modern elephants…. Sabertooths… etc.  Homo rudolfensis  Upright apes  Each have own ways of survival  East Africa… change occurred when retreat of rain forest intensified  Grass came in many forms  New food and new creatures  Africa offers a huge variety of different things to eat and ways to live  All kinds of animals have evolved Boseii  We can’t eat reeds but the Boseii… adapted to eat reeds  Powerful muscles in cheek… enormous jaw… back teeth 4 times the size of our own  Can eat roots of reeds as well  Ape-man’s favourite past time… sex  Boseii - Love to eat termites  Grooming… how apes bond with each other  Live comfortable lives with domestic concerns Homo Habilis  Considerably tougher  Habilis are struggling… they don’t have strong jaws to eat reeds  They are scavengers …. will try everything to stay alive for food  Habilis are meat eaters  Approach scavenges with care  Rudolfensis are rivals with Habilis who are also scavengers who eat meat  They will fight each other for food  Troop leader gets eaten by a lion … they will need a new leader  Rain brings relief across the savannah  Boseii dislike rain…  Habilis and Boseii embody two different approaches to survival  Boseii lifestyle is very successful only if environment doesn’t change  But… nothing stays the same forever  New habitats appeared  Old ways of life will die over time  They will become extinct soon… clever enough to adapt to current environments… but not the future environment  Habilis are the first creatures on earth capable of making stone tools  Hugely important – stone tools gave them larger variety of foods  Eating meat has given them protein to develop their brains  Brains are half as big as others  Meat has enabled them to grow smarter… bigger chance of scaring off a lion if you work as a team  Bone marrow – very nutritious  Intelligence gave them a chance of survival  This intelligent trait that lives on in human beings  Able to live in different ways instead of being trapped in just one  Began to free themselves of all rules that governed all other lives Homo Ergaster  Troop in East Africa that were similar to Habilis… but even more smarter  They are the creatures that will next connect us from apes to humans Homo Ergaster
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