Chapter 9: Paleoanthropology
Chapter 9: Paleoanthropology APY 203
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Date Created: 03/21/16
CHAPTER 9: PALEOANTHROPOLOGY Some terminology Mosaic Evolution; pattern in which physiological and behavioral systems evolve at different rates Hominoids; great apes and humans VS OWM Hominid; refers to all great apes and humans together Humans very closely related to apes and even more to chimps and bonobos Hominin; designates humans and ancestors from the point that they split off from apes BIOCULTURAL EVOLUTION Culture; beh. aspects of human adaptation (tech., tradition, language, religion, marriage patterns, and social roles etc.), set of learned beh. passed from one generation to the next by non-bio means, elaboration and dependency of culture is a distinctive human beh. More than just toolmaking (aka material culture), integrate entire adaptive strategy of cognition, political, social, and economic components PALEOANTHROPOLOGY Study of ancient humans; data concerning dating, anatomy, behavior, and ecology of hominin ancestors Taphonomy; study of how bones and other materials came to be buried in the earth and preserved as fossils, study processes of preservation and disturbance of bone Context; environmental setting where an archaeological trace is found. Primary= where originally deposited, secondary = where it may have been moved to. Draw info of: Dating Paleoecology Archaeological traces of behavior Anatomical evidence from hominin remains MIOCENE; GENERALIZED HOMINOID 20 mya LOCOMOTION Quadrupedal Long pelvis Capable of suspensory loco. BRAIN Smaller than hominins, larger than other primate Fair degree of encephalization DENTITITION Large front teeth Molar teeth variable Thin enamel caps (some), others thick TOOLMAKING BEHAVIOR Unknown, no stone tools Probably similar capabilities to chimps EARLY HOMININ 4 mya LOCOMOTION Bipedalism, most important defining characteristic, we are the only hominin taxa to do so exclusively bc more efficient based on our anatomy, evolved over a long period of time occasional bipeds, more arboreal locom. [Ardepithecus habitual bipeds, walk bipedally when necessary [ obligate bipeds [H. erectus, Homo] SOME THEORIES ON BIPEDALISM Energy efficiency; bipedal walking more energy efficient for covering large distances Predation avoidance; tall enough that can see wider range and over tall grasses Feeding from bushes/ tall grasses, reaching things, carrying more things farther Heat dispersal; better means of regulating body temp, less surface area exposed to sun, further from the ground Exaptation; a trait that has been co-opted for a use other than the one for which natural selection has built it Retention of grasping in hands, can manufacture tools etc EFFECT ON ANATOMY bipedal humans vs [quadrupedal apes] perpendicular inferior orientation of foramen magnum (the hole where the spine connects to the skull) [foramen magnum at back of the skull/ posteriorly positioned] smaller IM-index, longer legs than arms, longer strides, faster more efficient movement [higher IM-index] S-curve of spine [C- curve of spine] Shortened wider pelvis, better weigh distribution, provide point of attachment for muscles to maintain balance [taller pelvis, “ape- walk” inefficient] Human child birth harder and can’t do it alone, longer gestation bigger brains so bigger heads, harder to push out, baby’s head faces dorsally when coming out (back) Medially (Inwardly) angled femur, means foot is beneath center of gravity [femur oriented hip to knee in straight line] All digits oriented same way, arches in foot, walk: heel strike, rotate, end with big toe [first digit (big toe) is divergent in foot, can grasp with foot, flat feet] Laetolie Trail, Tanzania; footprints (different kinds of animals and hominin too) in hardened ash 3.7mya, footprint looks like human footprint, 2 (possibly 3) pairs of this footprint Smaller body size BRAIN Larger Expensive tissue to maintain but huge benefits (exploitation of resources, predator avoidance, maintain social relations, development of complex culture(lang., tools, shelter)) Moderately encephalized DIET & DENTITION Teeth oriented in dental arch; loss of diastema (space between next to canines and so canines fit when mouth is closed)/ reduction in sexual dimorphism of canines Reduced size of anterior teeth (incisors) Increased size of posterior (check/molar) teeth Canines somewhat reduced Huge diversity of diet Upper canine/ lower first premolar lack honing complex Molar tooth enamel very thick LONG LIFE HISTORY Live longer than apes, phases of life extended Childhood; not a phase seen in other primates, socialization Adolescence; learning, not being reproductive Extended post-reproductive life span MATERIAL CULTURE The material manifestations of culture (beliefs and practices shared and passed on in a group) Because they take a material form there is a record of them Tools, art, etc. Language, elaborate sys of comm., not seen in any other non=human primates, how humans communicate is most complex Anatomical changes out of development of language changes in brain (to produce and understand lang) vocal apparatus TOOLMAKING BEHAVIOR In early stages unknown, no stone tool use prior to 2.6 mya Probably more than chimps May have carried around objects in home range (like already sharp stone, wood, carcasses etc.), this was possible largely due to bipedalism MODERN HOMO SAPIENS LOCOMOTION Bipedal Shortened pelvis Larger body Legs longer Fingers and toes not as long BRAIN Greatly increased brain size Highly encephalized DENTITION Small incisors Further reduced canines Canine/premolar honing complex absent Molar tooth enamel caps thick TOOLMAKING BEHAVIOR Stone tools found after 2.6 mya Increasing dependency apparent in later hominins IMPORTANT SKILLS/ KNOWLEDGE FOR STUDY OF HOMININS Archaeology/ Paleontology Taphonomy; transformation bone remains may have gone through between deposition and today (biogeochemical processes, formation processes) Dating; history of hominids stretches from Miocene to Holocene RELATIVE DATING Tell if something is older or younger than something else (but not by how much) Stratigraphy; sequential layering of deposits based on the principle of superposition (lower stratum is older than higher stratum) Fluorine Analysis; compare amount of fluorine (incorporated during fossilization) in bone, varies from place to place so can only be used for comparing bones in same location ABSOLUTE (CHRONOMETRIC) DATING Radioactive decay Potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating; better in areas of volcanic activity, can date igneous products, when rocks are heated up the Ar escapes and leaves behind K, this decays over time into Ar, compare half life of K = 1.3 billion year, slow rate of decay better for 200 kya Carbon 14 dating; not good for before50 kya Thermoluminescence; date archaeological materials that were heated, upon reheating they release stored energy of radioactive decay as light CROSS-CHECKING DATES Paleomagnetism; based on earth’s shifting magnetic pole, look at sediment w. magnetically charged particles bc they maintain magnetic orientation of when consolidated into rock Biostratigraphy; extrapolate and compare dates based on sequences of faunal remains from different sites Morphology & Anatomy Shape and structure of these skeletons Have to piece them back together Form-function complexes; associate certain anatomical forms with certain functions (ex. Long arms in primates = Brachiation loco.) Genetics Understand basics of genetic code Molecular clock; things that are more closely related genetically share large degree of evolutionary similarity CLOSING THOUGHTS… Evolutionary is never linear nor progressive Hominin evolution is a story of radiation many of taxa and going extinct Deepest roots of hominin history are all in Africa Typically East Africa (Rift Valley, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania (Olduvi Gorge)) And South Africa Lots of hominin fossils found in caves, often they are completely imbedded in stone Louis and Mary Leakey 1930s, begin working in E. Africa Very important family in the field of physical anthropology
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