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King Kong, Gigantopithecus & the Missing Link

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Author Topic: King Kong, Gigantopithecus & the Missing Link  (Read 2507 times)
Kristin Moore
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« Reply #75 on: May 27, 2011, 07:38:49 pm »






 robust australopithecine
       teeth (upper)     
   human teeth (lower)
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #76 on: May 27, 2011, 07:39:11 pm »

Little is known about Australopithecus aethiopicus  click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced (the "black skull") other than it apparently was one of the earliest robust species--it lived about 2.5 million years ago.  So far, this species has been found only in East Africa.  Since it had a smaller brain than the other robust species and it was early, aethiopicus is thought to be a transitional form from one of the gracile species that came before.  It had an unusually large sagittal crest (shown below).

Australopithecus robustus was a South African robust species that lived about 2.0-1.4 million years ago.  They had strong jaws and very large molar and premolar teeth with thick enamel.  Males also had pronounced sagittal crests, though not as large as the next species listed below.

Australopithecus boisei was a super-robust East African species that lived about 2.0-1.4 million years ago.  They tended to be more massive and beefy-looking even than Australopithecus robustus.  Male boisei were especially muscular.  Like their South African cousins, robustus, they had prominent sagittal crests and very large grinding teeth with thick enamel.  These teeth would have been capable of cracking hard nuts and dry seeds.  However, such food items may not have been important in their diet.  Recent microscopic analysis of dental wear patterns, done by Peter Ungar at the University of Arkansas, indicates that what boisei predominantly ate was soft foods such as fruit, leaves, roots, and possibly even meat.
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #77 on: May 27, 2011, 07:39:46 pm »




 Australopithecus aethiopicus 
(the "black skull")
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #78 on: May 27, 2011, 07:40:12 pm »



 Australopithecus robustus
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« Reply #79 on: May 27, 2011, 07:40:43 pm »




 Australopithecus boisei
 (formerly known as Zinjanthropus)
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #80 on: May 27, 2011, 07:40:58 pm »

Early Hominin Body Size

The early hominins were significantly smaller on average than modern humans.  Adult male australopithecines were usually only about 4.3-4.9 feet tall and weighed around 88-108 pounds.  Apparently, females were much smaller and less muscular.  They were usually 3.4-4.1 feet tall and weighed only 64-75 pounds.  This is greater sexual dimorphism click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced than is found in human populations today.  In some australopithecine species, sexual dimorphism may have been nearly as great as among the great apes.  Female gorillas weigh about 61% that of males, while modern human females are about 83% the weight of males.
   AVERAGE WEIGHT    AVERAGE STATURE
      
SPECIES    males       females       females as
 % of males      males       females       females as
 % of males
                  
  Australopithecus afarensis     92 lbs
(42 kg)    64 lbs
(29 kg)    64%    4 ft 11 in
(151 cm)    3 ft 5 in
(105 cm)    70%
  Australopithecus africanus      90 lbs
(41 kg)    66 lbs
(30 kg)    73%    4 ft 6 in
(138 cm)    3 ft 9 in
(115 cm)    83%
  Australopithecus robustus    119 lbs
(54 kg)    88 lbs
(40 kg)    74%    3 ft 9 in
(114 cm)    3 ft 3 in
(99 cm)    87%
  Australopithecus boisei    108 lbs
(49 kg)    75 lbs
(34 kg)    69%    5 ft 4 in
(137 cm)    4 ft 1 in
(124 cm)    91%
  earliest humans
     (Homo habilis)     114 lbs
(52 kg)    70 lbs
(32 kg)    61%    5 ft 2 in
(157 cm)    4 ft 1 in
(125 cm)    79%
  modern humans 1
     (Homo sapiens)    144 lbs
(65 kg)    119 lbs
(54 kg)    83%    5 ft 9 in
(175 cm)    5 ft 3 in
(161 cm)    92%
1  The relatively low weight and height of modern humans shown here is a rough average of all people
    around the globe.  Some populations are significantly bigger (e.g., many Europeans and Africans).

(Source: H. M. McHenry, "How Big Were Early Hominids?", Evolutionary Anthropology 1 [1992] p. 18;
and "What Does It Mean To Be Human? Human Evolution Evidence" [2010}, Smithsonian National
Museum of Natural History)


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« Reply #81 on: May 27, 2011, 07:41:16 pm »

Possible Evolutionary Links

There has been a gap in the fossil hominin record for the crucial period before 4.2 million years ago when Australopithecus anamensis appeared.  New discoveries are now beginning to fill in the missing picture of evolution leading to the australopithecines at that early time.  Beginning in 1992, Tim White and several of his Ethiopian colleagues found fossils of what may be the immediate ancestor of the australopithecines at the Aramis site in the Middle Awash region of Northern Ethiopia.  The teeth of these very early fossils seem to have been transitional between apes and Australopithecus anamensis.  Among the living apes, they were most similar to chimpanzees, however, they were not apes as we usually think of them today.  These Aramis fossils date to about 4.4 million years ago and may represent the first stage in the evolution of bipedalism.  Because of their primitiveness, White has given them a new genus and species designation (Ardipithecus ramidus click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced, nicknamed "Ardi") rather than include them with australopithecines.
click this icon in order to see the following video  The Analysis of Ardipithecus ramidus--one of the earliest known hominids
        This link takes you to a video at an external website.  To return here, you
        must click the "back" button on your browser program.
        (length = 10 mins)

Based on body shape and dentition similarities, it is reasonable to conclude that some of the early hominin species were ancestors of our genus Homo.  Most likely, some of the early australopithecines (shown as red in the diagram below)  were in our line of evolution, but the later robust ones (blue below) were not.  The first humans (Homo habilis click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced) were contemporaries of the late australopithecines.  As a result, they could not be our ancestors.  However, it is likely that Australopithecus afarensis and possibly even early Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus garhi, or Kenyanthropus platyops were in our evolutionary line.
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« Reply #82 on: May 27, 2011, 07:41:34 pm »

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« Reply #83 on: May 27, 2011, 07:41:58 pm »

Beginning around 2.5 million years ago or a bit earlier, there was a major forking in the evolutionary path of hominins.  The australopithecines diverged into at least two very different evolutionary directions.  One led to the robust australopithecines and a genetic dead-end by about 1.4 million years ago.  The other led to the first humans.  It is likely that these diverging evolutionary paths were the result of exploiting different environmental opportunities.  Coinciding with this hominin divergence was a shift in the global climate to cooler conditions.  In East and South Africa, where most of the early hominins apparently lived, dry grasslands expanded at the expense of woodlands and forests.  It has been suggested that the adaptive radiation that led to humans and robust australopithecines is connected with this change in the environment.

 
click this icon in order to see the following video  Search for the First Human--Donald Johanson talks about the complex
        evolutionary picture of early hominins that is emerging from the fossil record.
        This link takes you to a video at an external website.  To return here, you must
        click the "back" button on your browser program.     (length = 2 mins, 10 secs)
           ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Note: the Orrorin referred to in the video is Orrorin tugenensis, a possible
        ancestor of the australopithecines that lived about 6 million years ago.

 

NOTE:  This is not the only possible model of early hominin evolutionary links that has been suggested in recent years.  Some paleoanthropologists have proposed that neither africanus nor afarensis were ancestral to the robust australopithecines.  In other words, the division between robust and gracile forms occurred earlier, perhaps at the time of anamensis or before.  It is also possible that humans descended from anamensis through a still unknown intermediate gracile species instead of afarensis.  On-going research will very likely sort out the relationships between the various hominin species in the near future.

NEWS:  John Novembre et.al. reported in the October 1, 2007 issue of Nature Genetics that human saliva has significantly more of the enzyme amylase compared to chimpanzees.  Amylase breaks down starches into glucose which can be readily used by the cells of the body.  With more amylase, humans get more useable calories from starchy vegetable foods such as tubers, corms, and bulbs.  The authors suggest that this would have been a distinct advantage for early humans because these foods are readily available.  They believe that natural selection favored additional copies of the gene responsible for amylase production (AMY1) in our early hominin ancestors but not in apes.


http://anthro.palomar.edu/hominid/australo_2.htm
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« Reply #84 on: May 27, 2011, 07:42:44 pm »

While the late australopithecines were similar to humans anatomically below the neck, their heads were significantly different from ours in several key features. Their adult brain size was about 1/3 that of people today. As a result, the widest part of the skull of these early hominids was below the brain case. For modern humans, it usually is in the temple region. Early hominid faces were large relative to the size of their brain cases. They had comparatively big teeth with thick enamel, large jaws, and powerful jaw muscles. The size and shape of these muscles is indicated by flaring zygomatic arches and the presence of a sagittal crest , which was a jaw muscle attachment area in the robust species. In modern humans, the jaw muscles are much smaller and attach onto the skull in the temple region. From the side view, early hominid faces were concave or dish-shaped and projecting forward at the bottom due to their large teeth and jaws. In contrast, our jaws are relatively small and our faces are nearly vertical.



Australopithecus boisei Modern human

Early hominid fossils have been found only in Africa. The majority of them were discovered in East and South Africa. However, some also were found recently in Chad, which is located in North Central Africa. Current evidence indicates that there were at least 6 species of early hominids, though they did not all live at the same time.

1. Australopithecus anamensis
2. Australopithecus afarensis
3. Australopithecus africanus
4. Australopithecus aethiopicus (or Paranthropus aethiopicus)
5. Australopithecus boisei (or Paranthropus boisei)
6. Australopithecus robustus (or Paranthropus robustus)

The fossil record of early hominids is being added to by new important discoveries almost every year. As a result, it is not yet clear how many species of them actually existed nor is it certain what their evolutionary relationship was to each other. However, the broad outlines of this complex evolutionary history are already known and are summarized here. To see a more complete listing of proposed species of early hominids and their immediate ancestors, select the button below. It would be helpful to have a printout of this table in order to understand the discussion of the early hominids that follows.

http://anthro.palomar.edu/hominid/australo_2.htm
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« Reply #85 on: May 27, 2011, 07:43:04 pm »

Brooke
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5    Icon 1 posted 01-25-2006 12:21 AM      Profile for Brooke     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  A super timeline of fossil hominids and their discoveries!

http://www.snowcrest.net/goehring/a2/primates/fossils.htm

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein
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« Reply #86 on: May 27, 2011, 07:43:42 pm »

Brooke
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5    Icon 1 posted 01-25-2006 12:24 AM      Profile for Brooke     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  Bone Clones Catalog of Fossil Hominids. Skulls, tools, you name it!

http://www.boneclones.com/catalog_fossil_hominids.htm

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"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein
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« Reply #87 on: May 27, 2011, 07:44:18 pm »

oscar
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Rate Member    Icon 1 posted 01-25-2006 08:59 AM      Profile for oscar     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  Jason, if you read carefully you'll see the skulls don't belong to apes or hominds and there's more than just binding cloth and pieces of wood to re-shape the skulls, nor they are so old either.
As for the innumerous links and photographs, please observe the recreation made by sculptures is based upon what they know for animals living now, you can't reproduce a being you never saw and know for sure amount of hair, color, etc, no matter how competent you are sculpting or in forensic area or artist. That's why I said many times National Geographic admitted the "reconstruction" of a single of these species obtained as many different "versions" as artists hired to do the reconstruction. Observe also the reconstruction in many cases takes too much part of the skull and it doesn't matter how many times they call it 'hominid' it could be just another specie of simian creature. None of these is demonstration they were your ancestrals but their parts (wherever part found) was not becoming a "transformer". You can bet the gorillas living now with orangotangoes and so many species of simian creatures -you name it- will be called 'homind' for the paleonthologists of the future! Posts: 3542 | From: china | Registered: Feb 2003 
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« Reply #88 on: May 27, 2011, 07:44:47 pm »

oscar
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Rate Member    Icon 1 posted 01-25-2006 09:04 AM      Profile for oscar     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  By the way, there are human beings living now in Sahara desert (not hidden like the stories about Big Foot or Yeti) who do have similar features of the skulls shown and they are not hominds. Just as it happens with the books in paleonthology or evolution that didn't show you NOWEHERE the Peruvian skull oddities (present in Mexico and probably in Egypt too), they WON'T SHOW the living ape-men living now. Of course, many people can't discuss these things if they never knew and realized only now. Posts: 3542 | From: china | Registered: Feb 2003  |
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« Reply #89 on: May 27, 2011, 07:45:12 pm »

Brooke
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5    Icon 1 posted 01-26-2006 12:26 AM      Profile for Brooke     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  Some evidence, please.

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