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Social Sci LibreTexts

III: Human Evolution

[ "article:topic-guide", "authorname:sanedafield" ]
  • Page ID
    4952
  • Skills to Develop

    At the end of this unit, students will be able to:

    • define the basic Trends of human evolution: Bipedalism & Big Brains
    • distinguish the Early hominins
    • describe The genus Homo: Early Homo & Modern Humans
    • relate Material & Aesthetic culture to hominin evolution

    In the last unit, students investigate the origins of bipedalism, encephalization of the  brain, and the evolution of hominins.

    • 3.1: Trends
      There are a number of trends in the evolution of the proto-hominins to modern Homo sapiens. These traits do not occur all at once, but over millions of years.
    • 3.2: Proto-Hominins
      In determining what fossil features denote a specimen is a hominin, many different characteristics are examined, including those related to bipedalism, about which you previously learned, and non-honing chewing. Apes have a canine-premolar honing complex, which means that there is a diastema between the lower canine lower third premolar where the upper canine fits when the jaws close. Other characteristics such brain and body size.
    • 3.3: Homo Genus
      The emergence of the genus Homo marks the advent of larger brains, the emergence of material culture (at least material culture that survives in the archaeological record), and the eventual colonization of the world outside of Africa.
    • 3.4: Material Culture
      The earliest evidence of material culture is in the form of stone tools found on sites dated to 2.4 millions years. This does not mean that early hominins did not use tools.

    Thumbnail: The original complete skull (without upper teeth and mandible) of a 2,1 million years old Australopithecus africanus specimen so-called "Mrs. Ples" (catalogue number STS 5, Sterkfontein cave, hominid fossil number 5), discovered in South Africa . Collection of the Transvaal Museum, Northern Flagship Institute, Pretoria, South Africa. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 4.0; José BragaDidier Descouens).