Lecture%2009-10-1 - Lecture 9-10 Australopithecines From...

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Lecture 9-10 – Australopithecines & From Australopithecines to Homo From early Primates to Hominids •Primates first appeared in the late Cretaceous •They survived the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary asteroid impact (K-T Boundary), 65 mya (m illions of y ears a go). •Primates thrived an diversified in the Tertiary period •The Tertiary/Quarternary period is divided into 8 epochs, defined on the basis of broad changes in global climate •The first part of the Tertiary was much warmer than now, and tropical rainforests were much more extensive •In the later part of the Tertiary/Quaternary, there was global cooling and drying, and global climate became more unstable (example: Ice Ages) Primate evolution during the Tertiary/Quaternary period was closely tied to global climate changes •An early period of warmer, wetter global climates followed by cooling and drying •These long term climate changes caused first the expansion and then the shrinkage of the primary primate habitat: tropical rainforests •The earliest primates resembled Prosimians •Anthropoid primates evolved in tropical and temperate forests, about 35 mya during the Oligocene epoch Reconstruction of tropical forest in the Fayum (now part of upper Egypt, not far from Cairo) Anthropoid Primates similar to modern Old World Monkeys & apes first appeared about 40 mya (in the late Eocene) the and lived alongside other primates that seem to have been more closely related to modern New World Monkeys. During the long cooling and drying period of the later Miocene. (Geological evidence from soil carbonates and other sources show that rain forest habitats shrank and grasslands expanded).
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