Unformatted text preview: A. Africanus (South Africa)
(South Taung Child
Taung Little Foot
Little Paleoanthropologist Ronald Clarke carefully
excavates an australopithecine skeleton,
nicknamed “Little Foot,” from the limestone
matrix at Sterkfontein cave.
matrix Brain Still Quite Small
Brain On average the brain
is a bit larger than
afarensis but still in
the range of 400-500
cc. Similar limb
afarensis U-Shaped Dental Arcade
U-Shaped Some traits derived relative to
A. Deeper jaw joint
Deeper Less projecting face
Less No Diastema/larger molars
No Australopithecus africanus Brain a bit larger than A.
Similar body size, sexual
U-shaped dental arcade
Ape-like limb proportions
Infant development like Pan
Derived traits rel to A.
deeper jaw joint
face not as projecting
larger cheek teeth Reconstructing Hominid
• What were
High levels of sexual
of strong intrasexual
selection and polygynous
social system Clues about our past from
• Tool use Gombe, Tanzania Chimpanzee Hunting and Tool
Use Provides a model for australopithecine
hunting and tool use
hunting Australopithecines had better manual
dexterity than chimps, probably used
tools Meat—may have been shared by
australopithecines as it is in chimp groups
australopithecines Chimpanzee dietary differences by sex Males get more fat & protein from hunted
animals Females get more fat & protein from nuts,
insects (more active tool users)
insects Australopithecines: Hominds that were
more ape-like than human-like
more Graciles found in mixed habitats always
with woodland, robusts may have used
more “open” habitats as well
more Not fully committed bipeds: still spent
considerable time in trees
considerable Intrasexual selection important Probably used simple tools, ate a more
varied array of foods than chimpanzees:
fruit, nuts, tubers, leaves, small mammals,
with robust australopithecines relying at
least seasonally on hard to process foods
least Habitat at 3 Ma
Habitat Habitat by 2.5 Ma
Habitat At Approximately 2.5 Ma
At Gracile australopithecines disappear Early Homo and robust
australopiths (Paranthropus) appear
australopiths 1st archeological sites
Frequently related to late Pliocene
environmental Paranthropus/Early Homo
Paranthropus/Early Homo Questions
7. Who are the gracile australopithecines?
What are some ape-like characteristics seen in A.
What are some derived characteristics?
What are some differences between A. afarensis and
What environmental changes took place between 2-3
million years ago?
What happened as a result of these changes?
What are some things we can learn about Hominid
lifeways from watching chimpanzees?
lifeways Have a nice day!
Have A. garhi, llast gracile
australopithecine in East
Africa at 2.5 Ma
Africa Hadar, A.
on slope ...
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- Spring '11
- Australopithecus, Hominina, Australopithecus africanus, afarensis, U-shaped dental arcade