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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 Notes

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ANT 301

1 Chapter 9: The First Dispersal of the Genus Homo: Homo erectus and Contemporaries Grade- a grouping of organisms sharing a similar adaptive pattern; grade isn’t necessarily based on closeness of evolutionary relationship, but it does contrast organisms in a useful way Clade- organisms that share a common ancestry Homo erectus characteristics: - Sexually dimorphic - Dramatic increase in robusticity (heavily built body) - Would have been around 6 feet tall - Considerable brain enlargement (also remember that brain size is linked to overall body size; H. erectus was considerably larger than earlier members of the genus Homo) - Less encephalized than later members of the genus Homo - Crania displays a distinct shape (long, low braincase, wide base, sagittal keeling) - Pre-natal brain growth was more like that of later humans and quite different from that found in apes or in australopiths such as Lucy - Brain growth after birth was more rapid than in modern humans Nuchal torus- a projection of bone in the back of the cranium where neck muscles attach; these muscles hold up the head Homo erectus history: - Evolved in EastAfrica about 1.8 mya - The earliest of the H. erectus fossils come from East Turkana - Homo evolved into H. erectus around 2.0-1.8 mya - The most significant H. erectus fossil from East Turkana is a nearly complete skull (1.8 mya), and it has the smallest cranium of any H. erectus specimen from anywhere in Africa - Nariokotome: site located on the west side of Lake Turkana where the most complete H. erectus skeleton (named WT 15000) has ever been found (discovered by Kamoya Kimeu in 1984 with Richard Leakey’s team) - First hominin to leaveAfrica Key Homo erectus Discoveries fromAfrica: 1.4 ya Olduvai Large individual; very robust (male?) H. erectus 1.6 mya Nariokotome W. Turkana Nearly complete skeleton; young male 1.8 mya E. Turkana Oldest well-dated H. erectus; great amount of variation seen among individuals, possibly due to sexual 2 dimorphism Dmanisi- in the Republic of Georgia; the Dmanisi crania are similar to those of H. erectus but all four Dmanisi crania have relatively small cranial capacities. Researchers have also discovered some stone tools at Dmanisi similar to the Oldowan industry. Dmanisi characteristics: - Weren’t especially tall - Smaller than the full H. erectus specimens from EastAfrica orAsia but had body proportions (such as length) like that of H. erectus - Small stature and cranial capacity - Have a sagittal keel and low braincase (classifies them as H. erectus) Acheulian- pertaining to a stone tool industry from the Early and Middle Pleistocene; characterized by a large proportion of bifacial tools (flakes on both sides);Acheulia
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