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Chapter 6 The South African Hominins

Chapter 6 The South African Hominins - Chapter 6 The South...

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Chapter 6 – The South African Hominins - The human tribe Hominini branched off from the apes 5 to 7 million years ago - There are two subtribes of hominins, Australopithecina (containing Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, Keyaothropus, Paranthropus, Orrorin, and Sahelanthropus) and Hominina (containing the genus Homo) - The australopith subtribe evolved first, and were discovered in South Africa (Australopithecus africanus) The Science of Paleoanthropology - Paleoanthropology began in the mid-nineteenth century with the discovery of the fossils of premodern humans (Neandertals) - The discovery of the first australopiths from South Africa was the beginning of a long line of discoveries of creatures that seem to be very near the evolutionary origin of bipedal walking - Early discoveries by Raymond Dart in 1924 yielded the first fossil evidence of the australopiths Dart’s Discovery of the Taung Skull - Raymond Dart, professor anatomy at the University of the Widwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, discovered a fossil with a brain size three times larger than an ancient baboon’s, and even a modern adult chimpanzee The Evidence and Dart’s Interpretation - The skull that Dart discovered had a foramen magnum that faced downward, evidence that the head balanced atop the spine (the creature stood erect) - All premodern hominins that had been discovered until the 1920s (Neandertals, Java man) were human creatures with some apelike features. The Taung fossil, on the other hand, seemed to be an ape with some human like features - Dart named the fossil Australopithecus africanus
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