ANTH140 Human Body Evolution Article Discussion Read the article and answer the question on by one. cn. 5 Energy in the Ice Age: How We Evolved Big Brains Along with Large, Fat, Gradually Growing Bodies
V. Middle Pleistocene Hominins: This group includes various archaic humans species that controlled fire sucbras
Homo heidelbergensis, Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo sapiens idaltu, and other closely related archain”text
pre-modern human forms. An array of Middle and Late Pleistocene hominins, often referred collectively in teartis
as archaic Homo sapiens, though we now know from analysis of fossil DNA from numerous Neanderthals, early
several distinct variants (species ?) of hominins that co-existed and interbred, at least occasionally, over the last
several hundred thousand years. These archaic hominins show larger brains than Homo erectus laver asins 1200
cc’s), along with more sophisticated prepared core and bifacially worked
stone tools (usually referred to as
Middle Paleolithic (Europe) or Middle Stone Age (Africa). Hominins in this group also show archaeological
evidence of the controlled use of fire by about 800,000
ybp. Controlling fire gave hominins access to the vast
amounts of energy stored in plant tissues (cellulose, lignin, etc.). Fire can be used to keep warm, for cooking,
(which also reduces the amount of potentially harmful pathogens in animal and plant products), for discouraging
predators, as a light source (at night, in caves, etc.), for heating wood and stone, to make better tools, for game
drives, and for many other utilitarian activities.
Ch. 6 A Very Cultured Species: How Modern Humans Colonized the World with a combination of Brains
(sophisticated technology, language, art, spirituality, domesticated dogs) plus Brawn
VI. Anatomically Modern Homo sapiens – This group includes all modern Homo sapiens cultural traditions.
Typically, these show evidence of life phase extension, a fully modern cultural and creative capacity, a more
complex and diverse diet, symbolic consciousness, a penchant for cultural change powered by an over-active
mythic imagination, plus an inclination among young to rebel against the “old ways” by each new generation.
Members of this group possessed extended life phases, especially a “teens and twenties” brain maturation and
refinement period. There is also evidence of exceptional innovation and creativity, empowered by the presence of
magico-symbolic ritual prescriptions for mating and family organization, weapons making, hunting, burials and
other rites of passage, division of labor, food sharing, as well as prescriptive formulas for food preparation,
healing, etc. which, acting in combination, allowed modern humans to both occupy nearly all available habitats
and to dominate and to disrupt ecosystems across the entire planet.
A115/A140: Study Packet for The Story of the Human Body, Part I, by Daniel Leiberman Sp 19
Story of the Human Body, Ch. 1 – Introduction: What are Humans Adapted For? READ Introduction and, as a
study project, trace the evolutionary history and adaptive significance of each of the following foundational
adaptations, adaptive patterns that we modern humans have inherited from our deep evolutionary past.
Human Hearing System (focus on the evolution of the mammalian hearing system)
Human Vision System (stereoscopic, trichromatic color vision)
The Modern Human Brain (with full perceptual and cultural capacity – what has been called the “Human Spark”)
The Human Hand (with long, strong opposable thumb, short, stubby fingers, nails backing tactile pads with
dermatoglyphs, precision grip, power grip, etc.)
The Human Locomotor Adaptation (bipedal locomotion, relatively long legs adapted to long distance walking
(foraging) and running (power scavenging, persistent hunting)
Human Skin (biggest organ in human body: millions of sweat glands, sparse surface hairs, pigmentation,
subcutaneous vascularization, subcutaneous fat deposition, etc.)
The “Human Spark” (modern humans with evidence of full cultural capacity, symbolic consciousness, language,
storytelling, a mythic imagination, music, song, dance, graphic and plastic arts, etc.)
Ch. 2 – Understanding Apes: How We became Bipeds
1. Last Common Ancestor of humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos
II. The Ardipithecus Group (Africa, 6 – 4 Ma) includes species of Sahelanthropus, Orrorin, and Ardipithecus.
Some specimens show the beginnings of an adaptive shift to functional bipedalism along with larger, thicker
enameled molars, smaller front teeth (smaller, more vertical incisors, diamond shaped canines in adults of both
sexes). These “dawn” hominins still maintain a largely ape-like C3 forest and woodland diet. At least
Ardipithecus ramidus retained a grasping or opposable big toe for effective tree climbing: all species known so
far are adapted to diets dominated by fruits, leaves, and other C3 plant products gathered in forest and/or
woodland habitats. White and Lovejoy (2009) maintain Ardipithecus ramidus employed a more bipedal,
terrestrial, foraging pattern with large home ranges but still maintained a largely ape-like C3 diet acquired via a
significant amount of arboreal foraging for both fruit and more fibrous ape “fallback” foods like leaves, pith, and
Ch. 3 – Much Depends on Dinner: How the Australopiths Partly Weaned us Off Fruit
III. The Australopithecus group (Africa, 4 – 1.3 Ma) includes species of hominins ranging from the relatively
gracile Kenyanthropus, through the somewhat more megadont Australopithecus, to the robust and megadont
Paranthropus robustus, to the ultra robust and hyper-megadont Paranthropus boisei. Where post-crania are
known, these early hominins had relatively short legs, longs arms, but at least some were apparently true bipeds
with approximated big toes, a strong heel strike and a longitudinal arch (best evidence is from the Laetoli
footprint trackways). They were also, as I am fond of saying, “BIG CHEWERS, SMALL THINKERS” with large to
huge (megadont to hyper-megadont), thick enameled cheek teeth (premolars and molars), small, vertical incisors,
small, non-honing canines, incorporated into incisor functional unit, while cranial capacities were typically in the
“ape” range (averaging around 400 550 cc’s). These ancient bipeds were adapted to foraging in woodland-
savanna mosaic habitats and for chewing resistant foods like fibrous stems, grasses, sedges, tubers, roots,
bulbs (USO’s), as well as some “ground meat”. The australopiths have experienced a niche expansion including
an adaptive shift from a C3 forest derived diet (typical of modern great apes) to a mixed C3/C4
(woodland/grassland) diet beginning about 4 Mya. Stable isotope analysis confirms an adaptive shift to a mixed
C3/C4 diet had occurred among some australopiths by about 3.79 Ma. This dietary shift started with early
Australopithecus expanding its dietary range from a mostly C3 fruit, soft leaf, and nut diet to one that includes
more ape “fall back” foods including stems, pith, inner bark plus some C4 foods like grass and sedge stems,
roots, tubers, and bulbs (USO’s), and probably occasional ground meat, marrow, etc. from small animals killed or
scavenged from large carnivore (lions, hyaenas, leopards, etc.) kills. No evidence of stone tools associated with
Ch. 4 The First Hunter-Gatherers: How Nearly Modern Bodies Evolved in the Human Genus
IV. The Early Homo Group (including species like Homo habilis, Homo ergaster, H. erectus, H georgicus, etc.)
This group is present in Africa by about 2.5 Mya, and the range expands to include parts of southern Eurasia by
=1.8 Mya. The species of this group show evidence of an increase in relative brain size, a decrease is relative face
and tooth size, and the evolution of hands and feet of modern proportions. Some species retain the longer arms
and shorter legs typical of the australopiths while others take on more modern proportions. Anatomical changes
to the hands and feet occur in conjunction with an increase in the utilization of simple pebble and flake tools
likely used to obtain and process both a mixed diet of C3 and C4 foods, such as some fruit, leaves, pith, inner
bark, seeds, nuts, stems, roots, tubers (USO’s), and, in some cases, the meat, marrow, and/or fat obtained from
scavenged or hunted C4 animals. This varied diet of early Homo was likely obtained by foraging in a variety of
wooded, open, and perhaps swampy habitats.
Some members of this group show evidence of a notable adaptive shift to a more modern human body size and
proportions, including larger brain (often averaging =1,000 cc’s), larger body, longer legs for endurance running,
adapted to a hunting and gathering subsistence pattern including significant amount of (persistence?) hunting or
power scavenging of big game focusing on obtaining the tissues of larger mammals, probably obtained by small
groups in more open habitats and carried back to a home base for shared processing and consumption by group
members. The development of large biface (Acheulean) technology allows more efficient processing of both
plant and animal foods. These changes signal the beginnings of 1) hunting of ground meat 2) division of labor
(males hunt, forage more widely, females gather) 3) cooperative food processing (using stone tools) 4) the
sharing of food (including meat, other animal products, USO’s, other plant foods), all patterns unique to the
human adaptive strategy.
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