Posts tagged Human evolution
Posts tagged Human evolution
Fossil hunters in Ethiopia are excavating a mandible, or lower jaw, of Ardipithecus ramidus. A fairly complete skeleton of this individual, nicknamed Ardi, is 4.4-million-years-old. It lived well before and was much more primitive than the 3.2-million-year-old Lucy skeleton, of the species Australopithecus afarensis. Unveiling the Ardi remains this week, scientists said this was the earliest known skeleton of a potential human ancestor.
Credit: Tim White and David L. Brill
Tim D. White and Yohannes Haile-Selassie at an excavation site in Ethiopia.
Credit: David L. Brill
“Hominin – the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors (including members of the genera Homo, Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Ardipithecus).”
A lot had happened this year with hominin research and some would redefine conventional understandings of this group. Below is a list of new studies that came out this year that I find quite interesting on hominin. Read up so you can show off in class with your knowledge of current hominin research. You know, just so you can make sure that your adjunct is really paying attention of what he/she is doing instead of begrudgingly teaching a class because he/she has to. Or maybe you have a geeky classmate you want to impress. Or if you’re like me, you just wanna be the smartest in class because Asian Fail is not an option. So, enjoy … and if they question you, tell them I said so.
Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus
Homo floresiensis (the Hobbits)
Homo sapiens (early and modern humans)
*Bouchra child, Homo sapiens*
A sophisticated new examination of teeth from 11 Neanderthal and early human fossils shows that modern humans are slower than our ancestors to reach full maturity. The finding suggests that our slow development and long childhood are recent and unique to our own species, and may have given early humans an evolutionary advantage over Neanderthals.
The research, led by scientists at Harvard University, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (MPI-EVA), and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), is detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Teeth are remarkable time recorders, capturing each day of growth much like rings in trees reveal yearly progress,” says Tanya M. Smith, assistant professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. “Even more impressive is the fact that our first molars contain a tiny ‘birth certificate,’ and finding this birth line allows scientists to calculate exactly how old a juvenile was when it died.”
Compared with even early humans, other primates have shorter gestation, faster childhood maturation, younger age at first reproduction, and a shorter overall lifespan. It’s been unclear exactly when, in the 6 million to 7 million years since our evolutionary split from nonhuman primates, the life course shifted.
It’s no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species — “the animal connection” — played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.