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Human evolution. Waikato university site Main points. Rapid changes as new fossils are found and re-evaluated every year Human and chimp diverged about 7mya in Africa

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human evolution

Human evolution

Waikato university site

main points
Main points
  • Rapid changes as new fossils are found and re-evaluated every year
  • Human and chimp diverged about 7mya in Africa
  • Put lineage is ‘bushy’, with many different species in existence at the same time
  • Ancestors of modern humans evolved in Africa
  • Homo erectus populations left Africa about 1.5 mya and moved rapidly across Europe and Asia (out of Africa theory)
early miocene apes
Early (Miocene) apes
  • Apes evolved in Africa 20 mya (proconsul)
  • Monkey-like traits – backbone, pelvis and forelimb
  • 17mya land bridges to Eurasia allow migration out of Africa and divered into at least eight groups
  • 13 mya – major climate change in Eurasia.
  • Apes that survived – in SE Asia (ancestors of Urang-utan) and in Africa (ancestors of African apes)
  • human evolution\human_odyssey.pdf
earliest hominins already bushy lineage
Earliest hominins – already ‘bushy’ lineage
  • Orrorin tugenensis – 6mya, Kenya, bipedal, ape-like canines
  • Sahelanthropus tchadensis – 6-7 mya, Chad, might not be bipedal, ape-like skull and dentition, forest environment
  • Ardipithecus ramidus – Ethiopia, 4.4-5.8 mya, forest environment,
australopithecines gracile
Australopithecines - gracile
  • A. anamensis – 4.2-3.9 mya. Probably bipedal, ape jaw and teeth
  • A afarensis (Lucy, foot prints) – 3.9-3 mya, fully bipedal, intermediate human-ape dentition, face and cranium ape like, cranial capacity 375-550cc
  • A garhi – 2.5 mya, Ethiopia, 450cc cranial capacity,
  • A. Africanus – 3.2-2 mya, bipedal, 420-500cc cranium,
australopithecines robust paranthropus
Australopithecines – robust (Paranthropus)
  • All have sagittal crest, large jaw, heavy skull, thick enamel on molars
  • P. robustus – 2-1.5 mya, 530cc cranium, tough, coarse food, might have used tools
  • P.aethiopicus – 2.6-2.4 mya, heavy face, large crest, 410cc cranium,
  • P. boisei – huge molars, massive built face and jaw, highly specialised hard food diet
trends in human evolution
Trends in human evolution
  • Cranial capacity
  • Bipedalism
  • Skull – dental arcade

facial angle

  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Rib cage
  • Appears very early- (Maybe up to 7mya)
  • Gradual change (walking, followed by running)
  • Earlier genus – position of foramen magnum
  • Evidence from pelvic structure, knee and foot structure
  • H. erectus – very efficient movement – very narrow pelvic outlook
  • Wider pelvic outlet (in Sapiens) might be adaptation to larger infant head size
cranial capacity
Cranial capacity
  • Gradual increase in cranial capacity
    • Early Australopithecines similar to modern chimp (Around 400cc)
    • Later australopithecines about 550cc
    • Homo erectus – 510-1225cc (within modern range)
    • Neanderthal (1450cc) larger than Homo (1350cc) reflect difference in body size.
skull morphology
Skull morphology
  • Dental arcade from U (chimp) [with cheek teeth parallel] to V (human)
  • Decrease in size of teeth (molars )
  • Decrease in crest and ridges (sagital – diet, nuchal – posture)
  • Facial angle becoming flatter (to vertical in Homo)
other trends
Other trends
  • Reduce sexual dimorphism
  • Rib cage size and shape:

Funnel (A. afarensis)

Barrel shape (Homo)

Funnel shape accommodates the large gut needed for a herbivore (eg – gorilla). Barrel shape and hips – indication of meat in diet.

homo floresiensis
Homo floresiensis
  • Discovered 2004, in Indonesia
  • 18,000yo remains
  • Tiny – adult female 1 m tall, cranial capacity 380cc,
  • Tool maker and user
  • Mix of traits:
    • Primitive – low cranium, brow ridges, bipedal (narrow pelvis)
    • Advance - flat face,
  • Theory – a dwarf form of H. erectus, a case of dwarfism on islands
homo neanderthalensis
Homo neanderthalensis
  • 230,000-30,000 ya, ice age, in Europe and middle east
  • Robust and heavily built
  • Cranial capacity – 1450cc
  • Skull – elongated, receding forehead, weak chin, large nasal cavity
  • Complex tools (Moustarian)
  • mDNA evidence – not closely related to Homo sapiens
cultural evolution
Cultural evolution
  • Tools
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Art
  • Cooperative behaviour (hunting)
  • Domestication of plants and animals
tools i
Tools (I)
  • Only stone tools survive
  • Chimps – modified twigs and rocks, learnt behaviour, regional culture, pre-meditation
  • A. gahri – 2.5 mya
  • H. habilis - Oldowan culture [cobble stones, one or more flakes knocked of one side]
  • H. erectus – Acheulean culture[sharper, straighter edges, smaller flakes removed, worked from many sides, range of uses]
tools ii
Tools (II)
  • H. sapiens (archaic) and H. neanderthalensis - Mousterian tools
    • Stone core is shaped before flakes are removed
    • Range of uses
    • Some have tang at the end that suggests a wood or bone handle
upper palaeolithic industry
Upper palaeolithic industry
  • Modern H sapiens
  • Africa – 40,000 – 12,000ya
  • Wider range of material, regional variation
  • Uses – fishhooks, harpoon points, needles …