Lecture%2011-1

Lecture%2011-1 - LECTURE 11: The Genus Homo to the Origin...

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LECTURE 11: The Genus Homo to the Origin of Modern Humans. The origins and appearance of our own Genus 0. At around 2.5 mya in East Africa, we see the appearance of a new hominin Genus: Homo 1. The earliest species is Homo habilis 2. Homo habilis is characterized by a significantly larger brain and more modern body proportions 3. There is some evidence that Homo habilis is the earliest maker and user of stone tools The discovery of Homo habilis at Olduvai Gorge 4. Louis Leakey, 1964 5. Found bones of hand, limbs 6. Association of stone tools (Oldowan tool industry) 7. Aust. boisei (or Paranthropus boisei) found in same strata 8. Because H. habilis had more human-like hand, assumed to have made the tools 0. “handy man” [Homo habilis] 9. Cranium (ER 1470) found in 1972 by son Richard Leakey. Some Anthropologistst consider ER 1470, which has a 750 cc cranial capacity, to be a different species from H. habilis. These Anthropologists refer to ER 1470 and similar fossils as “Homo rudolfensis.” Derived (new & distinguishing) features of Homo habilis 10. Larger relative brain size 11. Longer legs, striding gaits more similar to modern humans 12. Probable use of stone tools 13. Larger incisors relative to molars 14. Narrower molars 1. Possible importance of meat in diet There has been much debate over when hominins started hunting medium and large sized mammals 15. Modern hunter-gatherers often depend a great deal on hunted foods 16. Is this dependency on hunting a defining feature of hominins, or did it evolve later? 17. Hunting is often seen as the factor that made us human 2. Requires complex cooperation 3. Origins of sexual division of labor 4. Human family formation: male provisioning of females and infants The earliest interpretation of Australopithecines was that they were large game hunters 18. The Taung child and other Australopithecines in South Africa were found in sinkhole caves with the fossil bones of hundreds of grazing animals 19. Raymond Dart interpreted these as the cave shelters of Australopithecines, who killed and dragged grazing animals back to their lairs 20. No stone tools—Dart thought they used bone and antler tools as weapons
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This interpretation was overturned in the 1970’s: “The Hunters or the Hunted?” 21. A paleontologist named C.K. Brain reinterpreted the sinkhole sites as accumulations made by leopards 22. The Australopithecines were not hunters but the hunted 23. Along with many other herbivores, Australopithecines were the prey of leopards, extinct sabertooth cats, and other carniviores The archaeological sites left by Homo habilis and erectus are a slightly different story 24. Early Homo sites contain very simple Oldowan stone tools, fossils of hominids, and fossil bones of large and small prey animals, some with tool cut marks 25. But there is still some ambiguity 26. Were the early hominids hunters or scavengers? The Olduvai Bone Beds
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2010 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Osbjorn during the Fall '09 term at New Mexico.

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Lecture%2011-1 - LECTURE 11: The Genus Homo to the Origin...

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