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UIC / Anthropology / ANTH 102 / What are the laetoli footprints?

What are the laetoli footprints?

What are the laetoli footprints?

Description

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  • 40% of complete skeleton with hip, pelvis and femur
  • Tells us the creature was a biped (earliest evidence), little brain activity, small (4frx)

Laetoli Footprints (first archaeological site)

  • Tanzania, dating 3.6 million years ago by Mary Leaky
  • Volcanic eruption with soft ash left over
  • Creatures walked over it and left prints
  • Suggested bipedal locomotion
  • Many leakey (discovered site)
  • Bipedal locomotion frees up hands

Homo habilis (2.5 to 1.6 million years ago) → male

  • Discovered by the leakeys (Louis and Mary) in East Africa
  • Bigger brain, (name implies) dextures, found early tools

Olduvai Gorge (East Africa)

  • Where 2 tectonic plates are meeting
  • The plates are moved part and create a grove / cave / canal that lets you see layers
  • See something sticking out, they can excavate there

Earliest Stone Tools

  • Found in Gona, Ethiopia from 2.6 million years ago
  • Sustained stone tool use
  • Oldowan industry / Basal Paleolithic (base of deposit)
  • Found in olduvai Gorge, Tanzania 1.8 million years ago
  • Not local (from at least 6 miles away) material
  • Suggests certain degree of planning (not seen on chimpanzees)
  • Chopping tool made from certain type of stone

Archeological site at Olduvai Gorge (leaky)

  • Butchering Localities
  • Remains of a few large mammals (1 species)
  • Ex. ancient elephant or buffalo
  • Stone tools (used to butcher animals for meat or other resources)
  • Quamy locality
  • Thousands of stone debris
  • No / few animals
  • Infer this is where they found / made tools then left to where they actually needed them

Multi Purpose Localities (“campsite”)

  • Broken bones of many different animals
  • Stone tools and debris
  • Disputed (as campsites)
  • Some people think “meeting site” others natural occurrences brought together
  • In sites, clear association with tools and animals
  • Means more meat in diets (even though we’re natural omnivores
  • Did they kill them or scavenged?
  • Cut marks on bones of large herbivores such as antelope, zebra, and gazelles (when bone still fresh)
  • Different marks distinguish animal teeth vs. tool marks
  • Cuts from tools are sometimes over tooth marks (indicating scavenging)
  • Most likely went to kill sites of other animals and scavenge (sometimes competing with others)
  • Ex. Bone gnawed so break bone for marrow

Non - human biological adaptations for carnivores

  • Vultures and hyenas are scavengers for prey killed by another predator
  • Biologically modified to scavenge

Human Cultural Adaptations

  • Using tools they have equivalent of vulture’s features
  • By using tools, they invaded area for food chain in which other predators
  • Technology!
  • First compelling with scavengers only, but eventually will

Competing with Carnivores

  • Dry season and increase seasonally → resource stress which increases competition
  • Sometimes herbivores before omnivores because off lack of resources
  • Intense competition and tools = invading carnivore niche

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Homo erectus appears between 1.9 million years ago in Africa

  • Rapidly spreads to Asia and eventually Europe
  • Very unusual to spread so far
  • First discovery in Java by Eugene Dubois
  • Had a hard time convincing they were part of our lineage
  • Only found skull cap
  • Features:
  • Biped
  • Lived mainly on ground
  • From neck down → modern
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