UMass Amherst ANTHRO 103 - Homo Erectus (5 pages)

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Homo Erectus



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Lecture 20 Outline of Last Lecture I Our genus Homo Outline of Current Lecture II Homo erectus A Evidence for meat eating a Dietary change B Expensive tissue hypothesis C Fire use D Bigger body size E Home base F Similarities to modern humans G Growth a Female pelvis what were H erectus babies like Anthro 103 1st edition b Turkana boy c Femoral epiphysis Current Lecture Homo erectus is unique because it expanded out of the area in which it evolved The climate they lived in was like modern day Chicago cold This was possible through nutrient rich meat eating building fires using tools Acheulean tools aka swiss army knife of Homo erectus After this tool was invented and perfected they stuck with it for 1000 years conservative if its not broke don t fix it These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor s lecture GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes not as a substitute Evidence for meat eating Olorgesailie Kenya Acheulean tools found elephant butchery Butchered bones found in Africa China Europe Elephants Cut marks on the bones where flesh would have been removed Hunted not scavenged Dietary change indirect evidence reduced teeth don t need thick enamel big molars for lots of chewing smaller face thorax and gut barrel shaped easier to digest food diet doesn t have a lot of cellulose that is hard to digest Expensive tissue hypothesis tries to explain difference in brain size Brain takes a huge amount of food to run it If you have an animal of a certain size the heart has to be a certain size to do its job and the kidney has to be a certain size etc For humans we have a kidney liver heart that you would expect but our gut is smaller and our brain is colossal Steal energy from the gut and put it towards the brain Smaller gut would only work if food is more easily digested Our switch to meat eating lots of nutrients and cooked plant food allowed our gut to be smaller and our brains to get bigger Used and possibly controlled fire China around 500 000 years Lived in modern day Beijing when the weather was like modern day Chicago Fire for food warmth scare off predators Bigger body size Australopithecines and Homo habilis were small Homo erectus much taller Strong sexual dimorphism between the genders of H habilis Less dimorphism between genders of H erectus Females are still smaller but there is less of a difference than there was in H habilis Reduced male male competition Home base Before they follow food and build nests at night In the morning they follow the food and build a nest elsewhere Now there is a home base Homo erectus returns to the same place at the end of the day Cooperation food sharing Human like Pretty big brain Body size proportions gut nose teeth Fully terrestrial Reduced dimorphism behavioral implications Tropically adapted BUT lived outside tropics too Cultural adaptations Home base food sharing Fire How else Long infant dependency Adolescent growth spurt Was H erectus developmentally human Female pelvis Ethiopia 1 4 mya Lucy s pelvis was much smaller than that of H erectus and modern human obstetrical dilemma Neonate s brain in Homo erectus was more or less the size of modern human neonate But smaller as an adult than modern human Brain at birth was less immature than our babies brains H erectus neonate could have gone through more of its development before birth Shorter dependency period than modern humans but longer than apes etc Less male male competition and home base suggests babies were taken care of by fathers or grandmothers members of society Turkana boy Age at death H sapiens H sapiens 8 8 13 13 8 13 8 13 dental Human skeletal age Human stature age 15 Not developmentally a modern human Shape change in distal femoral epiphysis Associated with adolescent growth spurt in femoral length Present in Early Homo


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