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Hominid Evolution

How did humans evolve? What are humans? Why do we look the way we do? Were there other types of humans? Other human-like species? How old are we? How do we know?

Noelle Tankard, University of Cambridge, 2012

We are Homo sapiens...
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Hominidae Homo sapiens Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus species

We are great apes... We are primates... We have spinal chords... We have spinal chords... We are animals...

Primates Hominidae
Order Infraorder

Hominini Homininae Homininae Hominini Homo sapiens
Superfamily Family Subfamily Tribe Genus species

Primates Hominidae
Order Infraorder

Hominini Homininae Homininae Hominini Homo sapiens
Superfamily Family Subfamily Tribe Genus species

Primates Hominidae
Order Infraorder

Hominini Homininae Homininae Hominini Homo sapiens
Superfamily Family Subfamily Tribe Genus species

And the rest of our relatives ? .. They re all extinct!

What makes a human ³human´?

How close is close?
Genetic divergence tree

Hominids
Any species more closely related to a human than to a chimpanzee«

Hominins
Any species more closely related to Homo sapiens than to other (extinct) hominids ± and who might be an ancestor«

How do we know?
Comparative Anatomy Ontogeny (development) Genetics Fossil specimens

Comparative Anatomy Ontogeny (development) Genetics Fossil specimens

Figure from Thomas Huxley's "Evidence of Man's Place in Nature" (1863)

Comparative Anatomy Ontogeny (development) Genetics Fossil specimens

Comparative Anatomy Ontogeny (development) Genetics Fossil specimens

Comparative Anatomy Ontogeny (development) Genetics Fossil specimens

What is a fossil?
- Preserved organic material ± plant or animal

Evolution
- Doesn¶t change animals:
each generation has random changes, and the ones that are more useful have more kids and pass on those useful traits

- For evolution to happen, have to have three things:
Different types of a trait in a population Variation must be inheritable Some versions of the trait must be more beneficial than others

Survival of the fittest Adaptive selection Sexual selection Adaptive radiation and diversification Divergence
Primitive traits, primitive condition«

Speciation Extinction

A ³clade´ by any other name«
- Different populations of organisms who can¶t breed with each other« (except when they can«) - No good definition for ³species´«
- Living species or fossil species?

Absolute & Relative Dating
How do we know hold old something is?
Stratigraphy Thermoluminesence
± for inorganic materials

Paleomagnetism ± for rocks & burnt materials Radiometrics C14 (radiocarbon)
material ± for bone & organic

Potassium-Argon ± for fossilized bone &
lava

What can bones tell us?
About the individual«? About the population«? About the species«? Age, sex, diseases, nutrition Life history, growth Diet Migration « and more«

The first primate«
???
85 mya ± estimate from genetic studies (before dinosaurs went extinct!) Very small

Darwinius masillae
47 mya ³Ida´ is the most complete fossil primate ever found ± even stomach contents preserved! From before divergence of anthropoids (monkeys & apes) and prosimians

Aegyptopithecus zeuxis
³linking African ape´ Small primate, aprox 6kg 35 ± 33 mya Unknown if its from before or after hominoids (apes) and cercopithecoids (Old World Monkeys) diverged

Proconsul africu
27 ± 17 mya First ape? Probably an ancestor of all living apes« Not a ³kunckle-walker´ ± quadruped, but walked on the flats of its hands

The big questions«
- Who descended from whom? - When did bipedalism evolve?
Why was it better? What came before it? Did it happen all at once, to one species ± or slowly, to several, at different times for different reasons?

- Why big brains? Or ± why not big brains for everyone? - Why is our life history so different from other apes?
Why do we live so long? Why do we have an extended childhood? Why do we have menopause? Why do our brains shrink when we¶re old?

And then came the hominids«

Sahelanthropus tchadensis
7 ± 6 mya Western Africa (Chad) 2 specimens, discovered in 2002 Hominid ± hominin ± or maybe a gorilla ancestor?

Ardipithecus ramdius
4.4 mya Ethiopia Discovered in 1994 Woodland Omnivorous

Kenyanthropus platyops
Timespan: 3.3± 3.5 mya Region: West Turkana, East Africa Specimens: 2 individuals Discovered: Leakey 2001 Suggested ancestor to H. rudolfensis« but not to H. sapiens?

Australopithecines

Australopithecus afarensis
4.2 ± 3.8 mya Kenya Discovered in 1960s

Australopithecus africanus
3.7 ± 2.8 mya Discovered in 1934 East Africa Massive jaws! ³Nutcracker man´

Australopithecus sediba
1.95 ± 1.78 mya South Africa Discovered in 2010 Grassy plains & wooded valleys

Ardipithecus garhi
2.0 ± 3.0 mya Ethiopia, East Africa 9 specimens Discovered in 1999 Lake-side likely omnivorous

Paranthropus aethiopicus
2.2 ± 2.8 mya East Africa Discovered in 1995 Open savannah & possibly ³closed´ areas

Paranthropus robustus

And then came the genus Homo«

« something in the brain«

« or something with our hands?
Stone tools go back 2.5 mya Mode I ± basic, big cleavers Mode II ± bifaced, handaxes Mode III ± small, specific, symmetrical, hafted

Homo habilis ± handy man?
First tool makers? 2 ± 1.3 mya East Africa ± and maybe Asia?

Homo erectus ± the explorer
Africa ± and China, Indonesia.. 1.3 ± 1.8 mya Definitely had tools ± but none in Indonensia«?

Homo floresiensis ± the hobbit!
Newly discovered ± dwarf or new species? Last to go extinct?

Homo heidelbergensis

Neanderthals ± our last cousins

rope

Homo sapiens ± wise man
Evolved in East Africa, 200 - 150 kya Out of Africa!

Admixture and interbreeding
Did we mix with Neanderthals?

Man the ³Tool-maker´? Man the ³Hunter´? Man the ³«artist«´?

Good websites for more info«
http://www.revealingthelink.com/ http://www.talkorigins.org http://efossils.org/ http://humanorigins.si.edu/ http://www.becominghuman.org/