Human Antiquity Textbook Notes - Ch. 9

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Published on 29 Sep 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTA01H3
Chapter 9The Human Lineage Evolves
Pleistocene - “deep freeze”
The first members of the genus Homo
when the Leakey family found Zinjanthropus in 1959 the also found simple stone tools at the same
level of the Olduvai Gorge, knew that the zinji was to primitive to make those tools
Lower Paleolithic (Early Stone Age) – earliest period of hominid toolmaking in Africa, Europe and
Asia. Dates as much as 2.5 mya (Africa) to about 250, 000 ya throughout the old world
- tools called the Oldowan, after Olduvai Gorge – are very simple – also, called “pebble tools
- pebble tools: earliest type of hominid stone tool, made from water smoothed stones with a few
flakes taken off one or both sides (having sharp edges) 3-4 inches across
*tools can be made from its method or manufacture, need some imagination, because the tool
requires the maker to imagine what the tool he/she makes does and the process needed to make it
- this was a great increase in technological skills, reason for the importance of stone making
Past authorities believed that Oldowan tools were all core tools and the flakes were the waste
products of the manufacture – core tool: a tool made by taking a flake off a stone nucleus
- NOW, seen that flake tools may also have been used as tools, majority were raw materials for the
manufacture of flake tools (FT): a tool made from a flake removed from a stone core
* used for a variety of tasks, like cutting the bone/meat, scraping the meat off a bone
Oldowan tools were decided on the merit of stones believed to be more superior, there creating
sharp edges and durable – therefore cores cannot be found as much as flakes in sites (shows
planning)
- no evidence in the manufacture among early hominid of stone tools, like bone tools
- Australopithecus and Paranthropus had features, which allowed the dexterity to make stone tools
* there have been some tools that date back further then when homo evolved, but mostly tool-
making is related to homo
Homo habilis , was found in the same area as Zinjanthropus
- known as “handy-man”
- shows an increase in brain size, from an avg of 480ml for Australopithecus and Paranthropus to an
avg. of 680ml – with a maximum of 800ml
- flatter face, smoother contours, lack of a sagital crest,
- rounded braincase compared to other early hominids
- the presence of the stone tools indicate that their large brain sizes were capable of this complexity
- marks the beginning evolution of a trend towards bigger brains and greater intelligence
- fossils found in many sties like Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania date back 2.3 -1.6mya
species from East Turkana, Kenya – are considered different and placed in a new species
Homo rudolfensis
- has a larger body and brain size than H. Habilis
- lacks the continuous brow ridge over the eyes
* some believe that H. habilis and H. rudolfensis should be lumped together as habilis, BUT then
some believe the two species are closer to Australopithecus than the genera Homo
- based on body proportions, continued arboreal activity and the brain size relative to body size
- others agree that H. habilis should be lumped in Australopithecus + rudolfensis remain in Homo
- evolutionary relationships “the arm- leg proportions of early Homo, resemble A. africanus (long
arms,short legs) than they do with A. afarensis, later our limb lengths change (short arms,long legs)
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Stone tools helped early homos to quickly cut meat and bones off a carcass – making the addition
of meat to the diet through scavenging safer and more efficient
- ten Olduvai sites from the early homo period, have Oldowan tools, before thought to be a “home
bases” - now seen as “stone caches”, where hominids left supplies of stone, to where they took
scavenged animal remains to quick + safe processing and eating – used for short period of time
Lewis Binford – realized the bones from these sites, were mostly lower leg bones of antelopes
- where the bones carry little, along with the skull, left overs from when the carnivore has eaten
* some believe that since these bones are rich in marrow, possible they broke the bones for it
Pat Shipman , learned that cut marks left by the stone tools were usually on the shafts of the bones,
so pieces of meat cut-off, weren't near the joints – not like being butchered
the hominid tool marks overlapped carnivore tooth marks, showing they got their first
- it could be seen that the early homo were in small cooperative groups, family groups – foraging in
a mixed grassland/woodland area for plan foods and looking for carnivore kill
1. being seeing a flock of vultures circling overhead 2. a group of scavengers gathered on the
ground
*the big brains allowed them to be more successful and fully manipulate the environment, and
having the imagination and technological advancement of stone tools – allowed them to cut meat,
take it back to a safer place and store it
– Homo evolution themes: 1. bipedalism 2. large brains 3. social organization 4. tool technology
fossils show forms with the characteristic of early homo were around for about ½ a million years
- therefore a NEW hominid species was seen, continuing the trend of big brains and tool technology
adaptations that allowed it to spread over the Old World
To New Lands
fossils that were at the beginning of the genus homo, includes Homo erectus and Homo ergastur
(split Kenya group)
Dutch physician, Eugene Dubois, found the first finds of H. erectus in Java 1891
Java was a site in Asia, he believed that humans may have also evolved in Asia
- believed he found the missing link, and named the specimens “Pithecanthropus erectus” (the up-
right ape man”, ALSO known as “Java Man” - but many other finds in Java are seen as fully
hominid and are given the genus HOMO
**The fossils found in Java are similar in phenotype to the African and other Asian specimens, but
their avg, brain size is larger than in some of the earlier fossils, MANY ARE OVER 1,000 ml!
Famous fossils of H. erectus are from Zhoukoudian – cave outside of Beijing, China
- cave was occupied from about 460, 000ya to 230,000 ya
The “Peking Man” - is missing, but were still able to acquire accurate dates – lost during WWII
H. ergastur - “work-man” - reference made to the stone tools found with these fossils
- oldest find in East Turkana, Kenya is about 1/78mya
- this skull is different that others like H. erectus, more thinner and higher in profile
- smaller facial bones – reason for the split to becoming a NEW species – H. ergastur
- cranium believed to have belonged to a female
“Turkana Boy”- H. erectus, 12 yrs old, most complete find of that kind – evidence of modern body
- from Lake Turkana, Kenya
H. ergastur/erectus Vs. Modern Homo sapiens
- have sagital keel, brow ridges - large brain, vertical forehead
- prognathic, receding chin - orgnathic, protruding chin
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- visible torus
H. erectus H. ergastur
- has heavy brow ridges – prognathic face
- sloping forhead, elongated profile
- sagital keel: a sloping of the sides of the skull
toward the top (makes the skulls shape)
- sharply angled occipital (rear portion of the
skull) bone
with a pronounced torus: a bony ridge at the back
of the skull, where the neck muscles attach
- average cranial capacity: 980ml,
*right under the modern human minimum of
1,000ml BUT a great jump from the 680ml avg. of
early homo – some H. erectus fossils have cranial
capacities within the modern human range!
more thinner and higher in profile
smaller facial bones – reason for the split to
becoming a NEW species – H. ergastur
BOTH have primitive features(skull wise)
but neck done, they were pretty modern
evidence that H. erectus spread throughout African continents + populations remained their for
about 1million yrs – did NOT only remain in Africa, even reached China and S.E Asia by 1mya to
1.8mya
Why did they leave the adapted Savannas?
The spread of the H. erectus was a result of their reproductive success – their big brains enabled
them to exploit the savannas to a greater extent, then any other hominid species
- had better and more varied tools – ability to learn about the environment and problem-solve
through reason – and lastly a complex social organization
* these adaptations led to the rapid increase in population size of H. erectus
- therefore the population increase, creates scarce resources and pressure on social harmony
- therefore many H. erectus may have moved to other areas of less competition for food like water
and shelter
* in the Savannas water is really scarce due to seasonal change, creating dry areas
- may have also followed migrations of animal herds
- therefore in search of FOOD, WATER, SHELTER, and maybe SPACE+SOCIAL HARMONY, the
H. erectus may have wandered to the Old World – spread from Africa, Asia to Europe
**as a result they faced new challenges of new climates and changing environments
Pleistocene Ice Age
- the geological time period, from 1.6 mya to 10,000ya- w/ a series of glacial advances and retreats
- a steep drop in temperature occurred 2.4 mya, cooling of the earth may have resulted from the
decrease in the heat generated by the sun – where interplanetary dust blocked out a portion of the
sun's radiation – due to the increase of volcanic activity on earth, where materials spewed out by
the eruptions blocked the warming rays of the sun
initial drop in worldwide temperature was in the Pliocene: Geological epoch, that dates from 5
million to 1.6 mya, epoch during which the first hominids appeared in Africa
*temperature decline was MOST severe! And the spread of ice more extensive after 1.6my in the
Pleistocene
paleoclimatologists : a specialist in the ancient climate conditions
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Document Summary

When the leakey family found zinjanthropus in 1959 the also found simple stone tools at the same level of the olduvai gorge, knew that the zinji was to primitive to make those tools. Lower paleolithic (early stone age) earliest period of hominid toolmaking in africa, europe and. Dates as much as 2. 5 mya (africa) to about 250, 000 ya throughout the old world. Tools called the oldowan, after olduvai gorge are very simple also, called pebble tools . Pebble tools: earliest type of hominid stone tool, made from water smoothed stones with a few flakes taken off one or both sides (having sharp edges) 3-4 inches across. *tools can be made from its method or manufacture, need some imagination, because the tool requires the maker to imagine what the tool he/she makes does and the process needed to make it. This was a great increase in technological skills, reason for the importance of stone making.