Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins


Left Coast Press, CA. Woodward, I. Horst, Heather A, and Daniel Miller.

Suggested Readings

Digital Anthropology. London; New York: Berg. Nardi, Bonnie A. Kelty, Christopher M. Durham, N. Princeton University Press. Starosielski, Nicole. The Undersea Network. Durham: Duke University Press Books. Mediated Memories in the Digital Age. Blogistan the Internet and Politics in Iran. How the World Changed Social Media. UCL Press.

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Open Access Boellstorff et al. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Boellstorff, Tom. Broadbent, Stefana. Intimacy at Work. Walnut Creek, California: Routledge. Social and Cultural Anthropology: Astuti, Rita, et al eds. Oxford: Berg a more recent collection of introductory essays on key topics by British anthropologists Eriksen, Thomas H. DJ: Australopithecus sediba is dated to 1. I think sediba is just another Australopithecus species, one that has nothing whatsoever to do with Homo. It may very well have been an offshoot of Australopithecus africanus. What is interesting about the new South African fossils is they have a strange amalgam of features, combinations of what seem to be classically Australopithecus traits and some that are perhaps reminiscent of Homo.

I think what we're looking at as we develop a more complete fossil record is the great inventiveness of natural selection. The old view of linear evolution along one lineage has long been abandoned by most scholars. But we are seeing combinations of features that startle us. KW: Over the past couple decades a number of other new hominin species have come to light.

Some of them even shared the planet with Homo sapiens within the past 50, years.

ANTH - Human Origins: An Introduction to Biological Anthropology - Acalog ACMS™

DJ: There are a couple of contenders for other species during the reign of afarensis from 4 million to 3 million years ago. One of them is Kenyanthropus [a 3. There are some specialists who think that it's really just a very distorted afarensis skull. But it certainly is possible that there was a parallel species of human there.


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The specimen has been referred to the species Ardipithecus ramidus [best known from the 4. This could be a lineage that was parallel to Australopithecus. So we shouldn't be surprised if we see an increasing number of species that were overlapping in time. KW: As we said at the start of this discussion, this is the year anniversary of the discovery of Lucy. Why have you and your colleagues continued to go back to Hadar for all these years?

DJ: Well, we had a nine-year hiatus during the Ethiopian revolution, but we've continued to go back to Hadar because erosion continues. Fossils erode out onto the surface that may have been buried only a half inch or less under the ground. There are always new things appearing. This was a nagging realization to all of us.

A Neanderthal Perspective on Human Origins - 2014

Skulls are where some of the more important and diagnostic changes in anatomy occur, because of diet predominantly, but also brain size increase and so on. So going back in the '90s, our goal was to find a skull. Fortunately there was a male skull found and there is now a fairly complete female skull as well. KW: A few years ago researchers announced the discovery of cut-marked animal bones from a site very near Hadar called Dikika, which had previously yielded a stunning skeleton of an afarensis toddler.

DJ: One of the major behavioral features of humans is omnivory. At some stage in the human past our ancestors began to expand their traditional vegetarian diets to depend more regularly on meat.

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If you are going to support an important organ as large as our brain you want to have a foodstuff that's high in amino acids and energy, calories, et cetera. Stone tools, useful for processing meat, have been found as far back as 2. But we now have hints that butchery began before then. Zeresenay Alemseged of the California Academy of Sciences found a small number of 3. These were examined very closely by Curtis Marean, an archeologist at the Institute of Human Origins, and others, who concluded they were intentional cut marks made by the sharp edge of a stone.

Now if that's true, it means that afarensis was already beginning to experiment and manufacture stone implements.


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  • This pushes back by , years the dawn of culture, when hominins began to purposely fashion tools out of rocks to acquire a new food source, which was meat. When that leopard was away the hominins might take advantage of that. At the moment we're finishing a program to systematically look at all of the fossils that were collected in the '70s and '90s from Hadar to see if we can document more cut marks.

    Could it be that culture reaches that far back in time? And we do know that in West Africa there are certain groups of chimps that use a hammer and anvil technique to break open nuts. It's not a huge leap to see a real a-ha moment when one of those proto-humans breaking nuts like that cut his or her finger on the edge of a sharp flake that came off and thought, "Oh! KW: What are the burning questions about human evolution that remain to be answered?

    DJ: The origin of Homo is what is really gripping the paleoanthropological community today.

    My guess is that Homo arose somewhere between 2. There are teams from the Institute of Human Origins that have obtained permits to work in areas where geological deposits of those ages are exposed, and they have found fossils. Annual Review of Anthropology. Modern humans are an anomaly in evolution, and the final key features occurred late in human evolution. Ultimate explanations for this evolutionary trajectory are best attained through synthetic studies that integrate genetics, biological anthropology, and archaeology, all resting firmly in the field of evolutionary anthropology.

    These fields of endeavor typically operate in relative isolation.


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    • This synthetic overview identifies the three pillars of human uniqueness: an evolved advanced cognition, hyperprosociality, and psychology for social learning. These properties are foundational for cumulative culture, the dominant adaptation of our species. Although the Homo line evolved in the direction of advancing cognition, the evidence shows that only modern humans evolved extreme levels of prosociality and social learning; this review offers an explanation. The advance out of Africa and the annihilation of other hominin taxa, and many unprepared megafauna, were assured.

      Infrastructures are material forms that allow for the possibility of exchange over space. They are the physical networks through which goods, ideas, waste, power, people, and finance are trafficked. In this article I trace the range of anthropological

      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins
      Introduction to anthropology in search of human origins

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