Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction

Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction

Language: English

Pages: 131

ISBN: 0192803603

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The recent discovery of the diminutive Homo floresiensis (nicknamed "the Hobbit") in Indonesia has sparked new interest in the study of human evolution. In this Very Short Introduction, renowned evolutionary scholar Bernard Wood traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to today's latest fossil finds. Along the way we are introduced to the lively cast of characters, past and present, involved in evolutionary research. Although concentrating on the fossil evidence for human evolution, the book also covers the latest genetic evidence about regional variations in the modern human genome that relate to our evolutionary history. Wood draws on over thirty years of experience to provide an insiders view of the field, and demonstrates that our understanding of human evolution is critically dependent on advances in related sciences such as paleoclimatology, geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology. This is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the origins and development of humankind.

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radiocarbon and potassium argon dating. These methods are particularly useful for dating sites between 300 and 40 KYA. 33 Fossil hominins: their discovery and context 4. Some of the methods used to date fossil hominins and the time periods they cover Human Evolution Relative dating methods mostly rely on matching non-hominin fossils found at a site with equivalent evidence from another site that has been reliably dated using absolute methods. If the animal fossils found at Site A are similar

challenge to reassemble them. It is like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with lots of sky, no clouds and with no picture to help you. One option is to painstakingly reassemble the pieces by hand, but this can take hundreds of hours even by a skilled anatomist who knows every detail of a skull. Marcia Ponce de León and Christoph Zollikofer from the Anthropological Institute of Zurich are both experts in a new research area called ‘virtual anthropology’. They have used computer power and advances

tchadensis 7.0–6.0 hominins O. tugenensis 6.0 BAR 1000’00 Lukeino, Kenya Ar. ramidus s. s. 5.7–4.3 ARA-VP-6/1 Gona and Middle Awash, Ethiopia TM 266–01–060–1 Toros-Menalla, Chad Ar. kadabba 5.8–5.2 ALA-VP-2/10 Middle Awash, Ethiopia Archaic and transitional Au. anamensis 4.2–3.9 KNM-KP 29281 Allia Bay and Kanapoi, Kenya hominins Au. afarensis s. s. 4.0–3.0 LH 4 Belohdelie, Dikika, Fejej, Hadar, Maka, and White Sands, Ethiopia; Allia Bay, Tabarin, and West Turkana, Kenya

eye that are on all teeth. Foods like tubers that grow in the ground contain a lot of grit, and this leaves tell-tale gouges on the surface of the enamel. Sometimes teeth get scratched when animals trample them, or when hard sand grains are blown against them. But this type of damage should affect the sides and not just the top, or occlusal, surface of a tooth. When they look for clues about the diet of the early hominins by looking for evidence of any microscopic scratches left by food (called

a 18 limb bone, so that what looks like a curve is in reality the combination of many sets of columns. Our closest relatives Among the tales of exotic animals brought home by explorers and traders were descriptions of what we now know as the great apes, that is, chimpanzees and gorillas from Africa, and orangutans from Asia. Aristotle referred to ‘apes’ as well as to ‘monkeys’ and ‘baboons’ in his Historia animalium (literally the ‘History of Animals’), but his ‘apes’ were the same as the

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