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Bio%20201%20S12%20Lect%209%20%28True%29%20v3r -...

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Biology in the News (see folder on BB) Fossil can reveal a great deal about the ecology an ex;nct species, including our ancestors The most recent studies of the teeth of some of our ancestors suggest that they spent more ;me ea;ng than we do today Prof. Peter Ungar of the Univ. of Arkansas studies the physical proper;es of teeth to reveal these kinds of insights ‐ many high tech approaches are now being used, such as 3‐D imaging of tooth structures and their surfaces Paranthropus boisei has large, thick molars which were thought to have been adapted for grinding up tough foods such as nuts and raw plant maHer But the paHerns of wear on fossil teeth from this species tend to not show the wear that would be expected if this were their diet± instead Prof. Ungar suspects they ate mostly soJ fruits Gorillas have similar capabili;es of ea;ng tough vegetable maHer but if given a choice they prefer fruits One possibility is that diets varied± some ;mes the only food available might have been tough, low quality food. hHp://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_na;on/ teethtalk.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51 hHp://www.sciencephoto.com/image/117290/530wm/C0053361‐ Paranthropus_boisei_hominin,_artwork‐SPL.jpg hHp://evolu;on‐textbook.org/content/free/²gures/25_EVOW_Art/ 03_EVOW_C³25.jpg ²gure from Evolu;on , by N. Barton et al. 2007
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