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Key Trends in Hominid evolution

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Presentation on theme: "Key Trends in Hominid evolution"— Presentation transcript:

1 Key Trends in Hominid evolution

2 Key physical trends Bipedalism is walking on two legs.
First observed in Australopithecines Adaptations of the human body for bipedal locomotion and upright stance include: Skull - is smaller, with foramen magnum centrally located at its base, with flatter, less prognathic face and smaller jaws (less top heavy) Spine - is ‘S’-shaped - due to extra lumbar curve Pelvis – is broader and bowl shaped, with wide ileum for gluteal attachment. The wider hips give greater stability Legs - are longer, have a carrying angle at head of femur  legs angled to bring feet under body, have larger gluteal muscles and a larger, more rigid knee structure Feet – are less prehensile, have a larger heel, two arches instead of just one, the toes are parallel, and the first digit on foot is non-opposable and larger than the other toes

3 Key physical trends Changes in dentition
Smaller teeth and jaw (as discussed above) associated with a change in diet (increase in meat) and changes in skull structures associated with bipedalism. Loss of prominent canine and diastema. Change in shape from ‘U’ (rectangular) to ‘’ (parabolic or horseshoe shaped) Changes in the brain cranial capacity (size) increases number of convolutions (complexity) also increases

4 Key cultural advances Tools - Appearance of tool use associated with the Australopithecines (similar to that seen in chimps) – rocks & sticks used to kill small animals or chase away scavengers, sharp rocks used to cut up scavenged carcasses. Then the manufacture of tools and increasing complexity of tools used: pebble tools by Homo habilis, core tools by Homo erectus, flake tools by Neanderthals blade tools by Cro-Magnon, includes ivory & antler metal tools – modern man

5 Key cultural advances Fire - starting with Homo erectus.
Shelter - Changes in sheltering patterns from hiding in trees (Australopithecines) to the use of caves, and the building of huts (Homo erectus, Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon). The appearance of clothing with Cro-Magnon (as opposed to wrappings/skins – eg Homo erectus, Neanderthals) as demonstrated by the finding of needles. Art - starting with Cro-Magnon Religion - as demonstrated by burial (starting with Neanderthals) and/or artwork (starting with Cro-Magnon)

6 Developments in food acquisition
Changes in lifestyle from mainly herbivorous gatherers (early & robust Australopithecines) to omnivorous gatherer/scavenger (gracile Australopithecines, Homo habilis) to omnivorous hunter/gatherers (Homo erectus, Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon) and then to agriculturalist (modern man), with changes in number of individuals and complexity of groups found – the greater and more reliable the food supply, the larger and more complex the group can be.

7 Lifestyles Herbivorous gatherers - early & robust Australopithecines

8 Lifestyles Omnivorous gatherer/scavengers - gracile Australopithecines, Homo habilis

9 Lifestyles Omnivorous hunter/gatherers - Homo erectus, Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon

10 Lifestyles Omnivorous agriculturalists - (farming and the domestication of plants and animals) - modern man.

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