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Who are primates closest relatives?. bats and rodents. What distinguishes primates from bats, rodents and other mammals?. partial transition from claw to nail reduced ability to synthesize vitamin C litter size of one (among normal healthy females) opposable thumbs

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Who are primates closest relatives?

bats and rodents

What distinguishes primates from bats, rodents and other mammals?

partial transition from claw to nail

reduced ability to synthesize vitamin C

litter size of one (among normal healthy females)

opposable thumbs

reduction of the olfactory (smell) system

highly developed hand-eye coordination

(i.e., binocular, stereoscopic color vision)

fossils having these features date back to 60 million years ago

http://edcintl.cr.usgs.gov/madagascar.html


What do apes & humans have in common compared to other primates?

loss of tail

partial bipedality (walking upright)

reduced incisors

skull aligned vertically over the jaw region

short facial snout

Fossils with these features date back to as old as 31 Ma

rainforest action network


What do chimps & humans have in common compared to other great apes?

right-hand dominance

highly self-aware

sexual activity decoupled from reproduction (a very rare trait)

omnivory (others are strictly vegetarians)

delayed sexual maturity until teen or pre-teenage

prominent external genitalia for both male and female

a mandible joint that is positioned in the middle with respect to the side profile of the skull.


What do humans and our direct ancestors and relatives have in common

compared to chimps?

fully bipedal

loss of knuckle-walking

(although two australopithecines have indications of knuckle-walking)

loss of opposable 5th toe

Fossils having these features date back to as old as 5-6 Ma.


"Toumaï", in common Sahelanthropus tchadensis

discovered in 2001 in Chad (southern Sahara)

complete skull with a slightly smaller brain than modern chimps

hole in the back of skull suggests that it was not fully bipedal

…but muscle attachments from neck to back of skull suggest that it was more bipedal than chimps

canines and thicker tooth enamel (as well as eye brow ridges) are more human-like than chimp-like

S. tchadensis (Toumai) fossils date from 6-7 million years ago

Are there any fossils that resemble something like the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans?

YES!

….maybe

talk.origins archives


Jim Foley in common

OK, fine, but if this supposed link between humans and chimpanzees is really correct, and our lineages diverged about 6 million years ago, there should be fossil intermediates between our last common ancestor and modern humans, right?


Australopithecus afarensis in common

fossils from 3 to 3.9 million years ago

small brain, but larger than modern chimps

otherwise the skull is more chimp- than human-like, except for the teeth

the pelvis and leg bones are more human-like than chimp-like

the length of the fingers is a bit more chimp-like, suggesting some connection with tree climbing, but otherwise the hands are more human-like

definitely bipedal

from Humankind Emerging,

B. Campbell (ed.)


A. africanus in common is very similar to A. afarensis, except A. africanus is slightly more recent (between 2 and 3 million years old), slightly larger in total body (and possibly brain) size, and had an even more human like(parabolic) jaw

from Humankind Emerging,

B. Campbell (ed.)


The (in)famous in common Australopithecus afarensis fossil “Lucy”

CLAIM

“The one that is in the textbooks now that is the most famous is called Lucy.  How many have ever heard of Lucy before?  Better known as australopithicus atherensis [sic], scientific name.  Donald Johanson found Lucy at Dar [sic] Valley, Ethiopia in 1974; it was 40% of the skeleton.  This is considered the most complete skeleton ever found.  There is a real controversy about the knee joint.  The knee joint that he found a mile and a half away from the rest of the skeleton was labeled in National Geographic as “Lucy’s Knee”, Donald never corrected them; it was not Lucy’s knee found a mile and a half away.  He let the error slip through because he wanted them to think, “well maybe that is the same.”  There is a long story on that; 200 feet deeper in the strata, by the way.”

-Kent Hovind AKA “Dr. Dino” – a creationist – South Carolina lecture transcript

FACT

Johanson never said that the knee in question was Lucy’s – but he did say (and the

evidence supports this) that it from another A. afarensis individual. He also has clearly

stated this in his writings (including his book on Lucy). Also, the knee is not

the only evidence for bipedality in Lucy and other Australopithecus fossils. This is from a

Q&A period following one of Johanson’s talks:

Q. How far away from Lucy did you find the knee? A. Sixty to seventy meters lower in the strata and two to three kilometers away.

This has later been distorted by many creationists (including Hovind) to mean that Johanson was talking about Lucy’s knee. Hovind has agreed to stop using this claim in his talks, though a search of his website still finds it there.


Homo erectus in common

existed between 1.8 million and 800,000 years ago

skull is very human like (much more so than Australopithecus species)

brain size almost double that of Australopithecus, and increased as time passed

fossil finds suggest use of fire and increasingly complex stone tools

Australopithecus

boisei

(1.7 million years old)

Homo erectus

(between 0.8 and

1.7 million years old)

Pan troglodytes

(chimp, modern)

Homo sapien

(300,000 years old)


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