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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Notes

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University of Texas at Austin
ANT 301

1 Chapter 8: Primate and Hominin Origins Hominins- colloquial term for members of the tribe Hominini, which includes all bipedal hominoids back to the divergence withAfrican great apes Biocultural- pertaining to the concept that biology makes culture possible and that culture influences biology The earliest primates date to the Paleocene (65-56 mya) and belong to a large and diverse group of primitive mammals called the plesiadapiforms; these early primates have been controversial for decades with opinions carrying whether they actually are primates or members of a closely related but different group of mammals. In 2009, the most complete ever fossil ever was found and was called Darwinius (fossil comes from the Messel site in Germany and dates to 47 mya) The Oligocene has yielded numerous additional fossil remains of several different early anthropoid species (most of these are Old World anthropoids) Postcranial- referring to all or part of the skeleton not including the skull; the term originates from the fact that in quadrupeds, the body is in back of the head; the term literally means “behind the head” Miocene aka “the golden age of hominoids” 4 general points concerning Miocene hominoid fossils: - They are widespread geographically - They are numerous - They span essentially the entirety of the Miocene with KNOWN dated between 23 & 6 mya - They are poorly understood Large-bodied hominoids- those hominoids including the great apes (orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas) and hominins, as well as all ancestral forms back to the time of divergence from small- bodies hominoids (i.e. the gibbon lineage). Mosaic evolution- a pattern of evolution in which the rate of evolution in one functional system varies from that in other systems; for example, in hominin evolution, the dental system, locomotor system, and neurological system all evolved at different rates Bipedal locomotion- walking on two feet; walking on two legs is the single most distinctive feature of the hominins Habitual bipedalism- bipedal locomotion as the form of locomotion shown by hominins most of the time 2 Obligate bipedalism- bipedalism as the only form of hominin terrestrial locomotion; since major anatomical changes in the spine, pelvis, and lower limb are required for bipedal locomotion, once hominins adapted this mode of locomotion, other forms of locomotion on the ground became so inefficient as to not be sustainable. Sterkfontein- site in South Africa where fossil evidence of hominin foot structure has been found Culture- non-biological adaptions to the environment; this includes learned behaviors that can be communicated to others – especially from one generation to the next.Aspects of this capacity have been identified in our closest ape relatives. Multidisciplinary- pertaining to research involving mutual contributions and cooperation of experts from various scientific fields (i.e. disciplines) Sites-
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