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Digging Up the Past: Paleoanthropology and Archaeology

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Lecture Objectives Identify the importance of fossil in understanding the behavior and anatomy of ancient hominins. Identify the differences between paleoanthropology and archaeology. Compare the similarities and differences between relative and chronometric dating. Be able to identify and describes examples of relative and chronometric dating.

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Paleoanthropology and Fossils

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Paleoanthropology Biological anthropology focus: study of earlier hominids, including 1. 2. 3. 4. Highly _____________

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What do paleoanthropologists examine? FOSSILS Remember Cuvier – he recognized that fossils were once living organisms BUT fossils were not important in the realm of science until William Smith (engineering surveyor)

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Why Fossils? What information do they hold? Provide direct ______________ Study of fossil centered on two factors Time Environment

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Taphonomy & Fossilization Commonly bones and teeth sources (comprise 99 % of fossil record) Taphonomy 1. 2.

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Dating Methods

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Dating – Why Bother? Placing sites and fossils into a time frame Dating techniques Relative Dating Chronometric Dating (numerical dating) What is the numerical age? Isotope Dating rate at which various ___________ _____________________________________

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Relative Dating Tells the paleoanthropology that something is older or younger than something else Does provide: 1. 2. Does not provide: 1. 2.

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Relative Dating #1: Stratigraphy Study of __________________________ Variety of locations can be compared via chemical, physical and other properties Law of _______________ Lower stratum (layer) is older than a higher stratum Problems Earth distributions Length of time to accumulate stratum

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Relative Dating #2: Biostratigraphy Employs the associations of fossils in strata to determine each _________________ Aim is ________________ Why? Demonstrates that a particular geological section in one location represents the _______________ as another geological section at some other section

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Relative Dating #2: Biostratigraphy Index Fossils – _____________________ Example of Irish Elk (died out: 10,600 yBP in Europe)

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Relative Dating #2: Seriation Typological sequences of artifacts Assumption: ___________________ Frequency of co-occurrence of artifacts in specific contexts _____________________ Indicator of ____________________

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Relative Dating #2: Seriation Example: Contextual seriation Pottery -- style rather than function

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Numerical Dating Dating technique that gives an estimate in actual numbers of years _______________________ We will cover both isotopic and non-isotopic methods: Radiocarbon Radiopotassium Argon-Argon

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Numerical Dating #1: Radiometric Carbon isotopes: Ratio of 14 C to 12 C is measured Baseline for start of clock – death of organism By calculating the ratio of 14 C to 12 C one can determine ______________________________ Used for material younger than 50,000 – not the best for primate and human evolution Archaeologists NOT __________________

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Numerical Dating #2: Radiopotassium Non-organic material (e.g. igneous (volcanic) rock) 40 K decays slowly from its unstable form to a stable gas, 40 Ar __________________________ Dates material older than _________________ Note – cannot date sedimentary rock First used at ____________________

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Numerical Dating #3: Argon-Argon 40 Ar – 39 Ar: volcanic rock is bombarded with fast neutrons in a nuclear reactor Advantage: ______________________________ Example: ______________________

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Numerical Dating #3: Argon-Argon

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