Early Hominids Austral 2010

Early Hominids Austral 2010 - Epoch 1.8 mya 5.5 mya The...

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Epoch 65 mya 53 mya 36 mya 23 mya 1.8 mya (http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cenozoic/cenozoic.html; 22 Feb 2005) 5.5 mya The Earliest Hominids archaic primates (disputed) (Plesiadapiforms) Undisputed primates: prosimians earliest, then anthropoids Anthropoids proliferate: Platyrrhine/Catarrhine split Late Eocene: Catopithecus Terminal Miocene Event: first Hominids Early: Cercopithecoid/Hominoid split
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Late Miocene, 10-5.5 mya Gorilla lineage splits off around 8 mya 8-4 mya, fossil gap when we have few fossil localities with primate fossils – Human ancestors split off from chimp ancestors!!! Where are we finding fossils of early hominids?
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What first set humans apart from other apes? The earliest human ancestors have a mixture of ape-like and human-like characteristics The first distinctively human character is bipedal locomotion But the brain remained the size of apes
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Traditional possible factors or influences: * To move about more efficiently among the scattered trees, use less calories to move * To be able to stand up for a better view over the grasses * Ability to carry objects (males could then provision females) * Stand up to cool off Bipedalism But earliest human ancestors still climbed trees, too
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The genera of early hominids we’ll concentrate on 1. Ardipithecus 5.8-4.4 mya, e Africa 2. Australopithecus 4.2-2.3 mya, e and s Africa 3. Paranthropus 2.5-1.0 mya, e and s Africa 4. Homo 2.5 mya to present But we’ll mention others that we don’t know much about yet
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Genera of possible early hominids we’ll mention but not concentrate on: Sahelanthropus 7-6 mya, Chad, central Africa Orrorin 6 mya east Africa Kenyanthropus 3.5 mya east Africa Known only from skull remains Known from teeth and leg-bone pieces Tiny skull fragments: perhaps A. afarensis
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Sahelanthropus tchadensis “Toumai” 7-6 mya in Chad, central Africa A nearly complete adult male skull, two lower jaw fragments, three teeth Heavy brow ridges
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Early Hominids Austral 2010 - Epoch 1.8 mya 5.5 mya The...

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