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Pioneers of Human Culture Earliest Hominines Early Bipedalism Don Johanson… 1974, Hadar, Afar Depression, N. Ethiopia, ca. 3.2 MBP… Lucy, Australopithecus.

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Presentation on theme: "Pioneers of Human Culture Earliest Hominines Early Bipedalism Don Johanson… 1974, Hadar, Afar Depression, N. Ethiopia, ca. 3.2 MBP… Lucy, Australopithecus."— Presentation transcript:


2 Pioneers of Human Culture Earliest Hominines


4 Early Bipedalism Don Johanson… 1974, Hadar, Afar Depression, N. Ethiopia, ca. 3.2 MBP… Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis Tim White…. 1994, Awash area, N. Ethiopia, ca. 4.4 to 4.5 MBP Ardipithicus ramidus ( "ground man-root”) Mary Leakey, Tim White…. 1979, Laetoli, N. Tanzania, ca. 3.5 MBP Footprints. Michel Brunet …. 2002, northern Chad, skull, 6 -7 MBP. Toumaï Sahelanthropus tchadensis Zeresenay Alemseged ….. 2000, Afar Depression, N. Ethiopia, 3.2 MBP, Most of an infant. Dikika baby, A. afarensis

5 Early Bipedalism Physical characteristics of Australopithecus: Relatively long legs, short arms (Dikika baby indicates longer arms than previously thought.) Foramen magnum well under skull Relatively wide, shallow pelvis Prominent facial prognathism, supraorbital torus africanus, robustus, distinct forms robustus more robust, archaic

6 Early Bipedalism Sahelanthropus tchadensis “Toumai” Sahelanthropus has hominid traits that include smaller canines, thicker tooth enamel than apes, and the point at the back of skull where neck muscles attach suggests that Toumaï walked upright.

7 Early Bipedalism Ardipithicus ramidus Ardipithecus ramidus is, perhaps, another early hominid. Ardipithecus ramidus translates literally as "ground man-root" and is thought to be 4.4 to 4.5 million years old. Originally it was named as a member of the Australopithecine family, but it was later reclassified. Fragments of 17 different specimens were found including part of a child's mandible, some isolated teeth, a fragment of basi-cranium, and three bones of a left arm of a single individual.

8 Early Bipedalism Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy) Discovered by Donald Johanson at Hadar in Ethiopia. Its age is about 3.2 million years. Lucy was an adult female of about 25 years. About 40% of her skeleton was found, and her pelvis, femur (the upper leg bone) and tibia show her to have been bipedal. She was about 107 cm (3'6") tall (small for her species) and about 28 kg (62 lbs) in weight.

9 Early Bipedalism Australopithecus afarensis (Dikika baby) Dikika baby, a 3.3 million- year-old infant discovered by Ethiopian paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged in 2000. The find is the most complete ancient infant and arguably the best fossil of its species, Australopithecus afarensis, ever found.

10 Early Bipedalism Laetoli Footprints (ca. 3.6 MBP). In 1978, fossil footprints of an extinct human ancestor were discovered by Mary Leakey and Tim White. The Laetoli footprints are the most unique evidence of early hominid bipedalism. The prints were impressed in volcanic ash in that location 3.6 million years ago, in sight of the Sadiman volcano 20 kilometers away, whose subsequent ash falls buried them under 30 meters of deposit.

11 Raymond Dart Australopithecus Raymond Dart Australopithecus africanus In 1924 Raymond Dart identified fossil remains from the Taung limestone works in Bechuanaland (now the Republic of Botswana) as Australopithecus africanus.Botswana 13 January 2006 The world's oldest murder mystery has been solved: the 2-million-year-old Taung child was killed by an eagle, not a big cat. Professor Lee Berger of Wits University

12 Raymond Dart Australopithecus Mary and Louis Leakey…Olduvai Gorge Zinjanthropus boisei (Australopithecus robustus) "Nutcracker Man", Australopithecus boisei Discovered by Mary Leakey in 1959 at Site FLK in Olduvai Gorge in Northern Tanzania.

13 Early Culture? Pebble Tools….. Evidence of Culture? Lithic Technologies Earliest Evidence of Culture Core Flake Blade Oldowan Culture Oldowan Tool Tradition (2.0-2.6 MBP) Scavengers? (C.K. Brain, Leopard Studies) or

14 HOMO ERECTUS (PITHECANTHROPUS ERECTUS) Skull capacity: (Note: Australopithecus average Skull capacity 600cc) Average: 900ccRange: 750cc - 1100cc Associated Culture:Hand Axe Culture Early use of fire Base camps Hand Axes Representative Sites: Trinil, Java Choukoutein, China Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania Mauer, Germany Tripoli By 1,000,000 Years Ago... An adaptive radiation had occurred.

15 HOMO ERECTUS (PITHECANTHROPUS ERECTUS) Homo floresiensis, announced October, 2004....on the island of Flores....a variation of Homo erectus…?

16 Reid Ferring Reid Ferring of NTSU, working at Dmanisi, near T’bilisi in Georgia….Important site for over a decade, reported a 1.77 million-year- old specimen who was completely toothless and well over 40; a grand old age at the time. HOMO ERECTUS (PITHECANTHROPUS ERECTUS)

17 The “Old Man” From Dmanisi

18 Neanderthal: Pioneers of Modern Human Culture?

19 Discovered by Johann Fuhlrott in 1856 in a small cave at Feldhofer in the Neander Valley in Germany. The find consisted of a skullcap, thigh bones, part of a pelvis, some ribs, and some arm and shoulder bones. The lower left arm had been broken in life, and as a result the bones of the left arm were smaller than those of the right. There were actually two earlier Neandertal finds. A partial cranium of a 2.5 year old child found in 1829 in Belgium was not recognized until 1936. An adult cranium found on Gibraltar in 1848 gathered dust in a museum until it was recognized as a Neandertal in 1864. Homo sapiens neanderthalensis By 100,000 Years Ago...

20 1550cc skull capacity Mainly confined to SW Europe Very robust skeleton Comparison of top view of Chimpanzee, Homo erectus, and Neandertal skulls.

21 Middle Paleolithic (Middle Old Stone Age) Mousterian Culture Many different cultures in Old World Blombos Cave

22 Homo sapiens neanderthalensis First hominid known to have buried the dead. Earlier cultures had core tool lithic technologies, Mousterian is characterized by flake tools. Flake tool technology… Mousterian Culture Levallois flakes consciousness… aesthetics…. religion

23 This male Neanderthal individual from Shanidar Cave in northern Iraq shows evidence of a suite of injuries suffered prior to death. His right arm was severely atrophied (withered), a condition that he dealt with for most of his life, possibly since birth. He also had a crippled and withered right leg. As if this weren't enough, he also suffered a crushing injury to the left eye that may have deprived him of sight for some time. Evidence of the eye injury is visible in the top photograph. Look carefully at the left orbit (on the right side of the photograph). The bones of the skull are decidedly asymmetrical around this eye socket. All of these injuries show signs of healing, and so none resulted in the individual's death.

24 What Happened to Neanderthal? The old idea, The Human Revolution Theory, remained a credible explanation until 1999 when anthropologist Chris Henshilwood made an intriguing discovery at a dig site in Blombos, on the east coast of South Africa. He had been excavating a prehistoric cave for over a decade. The cave contained beautifully made artifacts, bone points and spear points that dated back 70,000 years, well before the Human Revolution was supposed to have taken place. But there was still no concrete proof that the objects Henshilwood and his team had found were made by a 'thinking people'. Among the most remarkable finds from the 75 000 year old levels at BBC are two engraved ochre plaques. Chunks of ochre were selected and carefully ground by rubbing to produce a flat surface and deliberate abstract designs were then engraved on these surfaces using a sharp stone tool. One of many sources on Blombos Cave:

25 What Happened to Neanderthal? A: The position of the polar timberline in present-day Europe B: The position of the timberline at the most severe stage of the Würm Ice Age. C: The limits of glacial debris deposited during the Würm Ice Age. D: The limits of glacial debris deposited during the Riss and Mindel Ice Age.


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