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ENV100Y5 (125)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6A.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Monika Havelka

Chapter 6A- Human Origins Humans are Primates • 4% of all mammals (400 spp) • Primarily arboreal; some terrestrial • Most are omnivorous and tropical • One of the oldest mammal orders • Forward facing orbits • Opposable thumbs • Diurnal • Reduction in olfaction • Reliance on sigh; sound • Colour vision • Large cerebral cortex • Complex social behaviour • Extended parental care Chimps are out closest living relatives • 94-98% genetic similarity • Differences: larger brains, speech, bipedalism • What separates us from the chimps: 1. Brain size  What developmental process allowed rapid increase in brain size? Observation: humans look like juvenile apes  Neoteny: Retention of juvenile features 2. Speech  Changes in the hyoid bone and larynx  Changes in cognitive abilities  Adaptive pressure to move from gestures  speech  Not clear when it evolved 3. Bipedalism  Why be bipedal: o Leaves hands free for tool use; gesturing o Able to run and throw o Able to carry offspring better o Babies can be born at a less developed state (bigger brains)  Bipedalism: o Thermoregulation: expose less body surface to the sun o Postural feeding: easier to feed from low branches o Better field of view: easier to see over tall grass; keep social contract; efficient gait for crossing open spaces Neanderthals
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