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Anthropology 200 Hominid History

by: Kirsten Notetaker

Anthropology 200 Hominid History Anth 200

Kirsten Notetaker


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About this Document

The evolution of humans and how they became big-brained
S. Carlisle
Class Notes
Anthropology, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 200, anthropology 200, anthropology200, Anthro
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kirsten Notetaker on Friday September 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 200 at California State University - San Marcos taught by S. Carlisle in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Anthropology in Cultural Anthropology at California State University - San Marcos.

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Date Created: 09/23/16
Arboreal living: living in trees  ­ Advantages:  ­ Easy access to fruits, nuts, and bugs  ­ Protection against predators that can’t get into the trees  ­ Disadvantages:  ­ Predators who can get into trees  ­ Solution: grow faster and larger  ­ Getting enough to eat (potential problem for all)  ­ Solution: Hands and feet with fingers that can manipulate and grab,  instead of paws and claws  ­ Falling out:  ­ Solution: Binocular vision helps to judge distances    Hominoid Biological Achievements  ­ Relationship oriented brain  ­ Binocular vision  ­ Color vision  ­ Flexible, generalized limb structure  ­ Reproductive organs  ­ Very small number of offsprings    Hominoids: Pongids vs. Hominids  ­ Pongids  ­ Fairly prehensile feet for grasping branches  ­ Longer, stronger arms to hang from  ­ Superior ability to orient oneself in 3D quickly  ­ Hominids  ­ Larynx and mouth produce many sounds  ­ Prehensile hands  ­ Bipedalism    Australopithecus afarensis  ­ Skull more balanced on top of spine (really)  ­ Arms good for walking but also carrying  ­ Flatter feet for walking bipedally  ­ Emerged about 4 mya  ­ Height: 3’6” ­ 4’5”  ­ “Bipedal chimpanzee”    Advantages to walking up right:  ­ Increased range of vision  ­ Keeps hands free for carrying food, babies, etc  ­ Look bigger = might be able to intimidate predators  ­ Relatively efficient locomotion, compared to the apes  ­ Due to smaller hips    Disadvantage of bipedalism:  ­ Hard to give birth bc of narrow hips    Human babies:  ­ Some mammals stay pregnant for less time than humans do  ­ But no mammal is born more immature than we are  ­ Takes longer to raise to independence    Disadvantages to big brains:  ­ Difficult births for bipeds  ­ Long period of postnatal helpless and dependency  ­ Brains are hungry, takes up a lot of calories  ­ 20% of calories    Evolution doesnt just shape bodies:  ­ Shapes instincts and behaviors as well  ­ Next phase:  ­ Our relationship based behaviors and instincts    Mammal Babies: why are they cute?  ­ Makes elders want to take care and look after the young  ­ Doesnt matter if its a different species, we still want to take care of small little animals    Takes a village to raise a hominid:  ­ Behaviors that promote the success of an individual’s genes tend to be conserved  ­ Fathers who feel a long­term paternal investment  ­ Neighbors and siblings are willing to help in tough times  ­ “Grandmother effect”  ­ The previous generation helps to raise the kids    How do you now who your friends are? :  ­ Grooming: cleaning behavior that promotes health  ­ Apparently, feels really good  ­ Gently touch sends the message that the toucher isnt hostile  ­ Establishes and maintains social relationships  ­ Gossiping:  ­ We spend 60% of our speaking time, gossiping  ­ Does not necessarily mean talking bad about someone  ­ Just simply talking and conversing and telling each other what is going on  with our lives  ­ Advantages to gossip:   ­ Allows us to build relationships with the people we’re talking to  ­ Allows us to evaluate our relationships with the people we’re talking  about    How many relationships can you handle?  ­ Primate group size correlates with the size of the brain’s neo­cortex  ­ Larger the neo­cortex, the larger the number of relationships you can manage  ­ Humans manage an average of about 148 at a time    Basic human groups:  ­ Group sizes roughly between 90 and 220 individuals  ­ The larger the group, the more primates you need to groom  ­ #2 largest groups after humans: Geladas (Baboons)    Result:  ­ Really big brains  ­ Means really flexible brains, with a flexibility becomes clear thru language   


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