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Origins of Mankind

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Frank McCormick

on 28 March 2016

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Transcript of Origins of Mankind

Do you accept it as a legitimate scientific theory? Why or why not?
Can you be a Christian and still accept evolution as a scientific fact? Why or why not?
Now let's look at the ascent of man...
Humans are Settled!
Humans begin writing!
Prehistory Ends!
History BEGINS!

What were the universal qualities shared by our early ancestors as they migrated out of Africa?

Environmental Determinism
Provides a framework for understanding why some civilizations rose to technological and military superiority while others died out or were rather static in their development
Refutation of notions of racial superiority and relativism

Taming of animals
Horses, dogs, goats, pigs, cows, etc.
Provided a constant source of food, labor, etc.
Domestication of Animals
Agriculture leads to settlement
Once human beings settle we see the beginnings of what we call civilization
Civilization- a form of culture characterized by cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology
Villages Grow and Prosper
Slash-and-Burn Farming
Lucy had two things going for her:
She walked upright
She had opposable thumbs
Nomads still exist today, and have throughout all of human history.
Does being nomadic limit you in any way? How?

Nomads- highly mobile people who moved from place to place searching for new sources of food

“Old Stone Age”
2.5 million to 8000 B.C. (from Australopithecus to Early Modern)
Invention of Tools
Mastery over fire
Development of language
Paleolithic Era
World’s oldest child!
Found in Ethiopia; skeleton fully intact!

Lucy’s “Baby”
Not all went through the Neolithic Revolution, some stayed nomadic
How does domestication work?
Does it change the species?
Origins of Mankind
The idea of EVOLUTION has created controversy in American culture....
Agricultural Revolution
Perhaps one of the greatest breakthroughs in history
Shift from food-gathering to food-producing
Mastery over nature

The Neolithic Era
“New Stone Age”
8000 B.C. to around 3000 B.C.
Polish stone tools
Domestication plants and animals (agriculture and husbandry)

Scientific evidence
Geographic setting
Current hominid family tree
Homo habilis
Homo erectus
Created stone tools

Use of fire; left Africa

First to have ritual burials

Culture, art, civilization, etc.

1400cm (cubed)

1,000cm (cubed)

700cm (cubed)


Europe and SW Asia

1,450cm (cubed)

Africa, Asia, Europe

East Africa

40,000 – 8,000 B.C.

200,000 – 30,000 B.C.

1.6 mil – 30,000 B.C.

2.5 mil – 1.5 mil B.C.


Homo erectus

Homo habilis

Cro-Magnon (early modern humans)

Paleoanthropology: An evolving field
Hominid Development
Biological Classifications
Just Us!
Homo habilis
Homo erectus
Homo sapien
Homo habilis
Homo erectus
Homo sapien
Australopithecus Afarenis
Homo habilis
Homo erectus
Homo sapien
Australopithecus Afarenis
Squirrel Monkey
A View of Ascent
The Opposable Thumb


Where were they found?

Southern/Eastern Africa


Brain Size

4 mil – 1 mil B.C.

500cm (cubed)

Key Hominids in our evolution
Walking upright has its advantages. You can carry tools, objects, food, and your children. You can travel longer distances.

Paleolithic Age
The Evolutionary Edge
All human beings are bipedal
Our first adaptive advantage
Hands were freed from weight bearing responsibilities, making tool use possible

#1 Bipedalism: Standing up and Walking
To support the additional weight bipedalism created, the pelvis grew thicker- as it did the birth canal grew smaller.
At the same time as the birth canal is growing smaller, the human brain and skull was growing larger.
Had there been no evolutionary correction, the human species could have died out.
That correction? Human babies are born earlier in their development than other primates.

Immaturity and its Consequences
Obstetrical dilemma
Notice any developmental difference?
Which species appears better suited to survive at birth?
#2 The Mother-Father-Infant Relationship

#3 Dexterity and Tool Use

What is crucial is where the brain expanded. Although the anatomy of much of our brain is identical with that of other primates, our cerebral cortex, the uppermost part of the brain, is the largest and most elaborate of all primates. The cortex is the area of the brain devoted to learning, organizing, planning, and other mental activities.
#4 The Brain
The physiology of breathing structures how we speak!

A necessary part of human culture is language, a form of symbolic communication of external action and internal thought that has a structure of sound, gesture, meaning and logic similar to all other languages. It contains a classification system and allows humans to speak and think in abstractions. Thus we can plan for the future or make conjectures about something or someone not present. The subtleties of language include manipulation of others, lying, humor, gossip, insults, metaphor, and poetry.

#5 Language
Another important feature is personhood, which includes a responsible self as distinguished from others that understands intentionality and the difference between right and wrong. 
#6 Personhood: Self Consciousness
Humans are not solitary beings but live most of our lives in groups or connected to groups of which immediate family and other kin are the most important. We have a social structure with leaders, laws, politics, division of labor, etiquette, song, dance, decorative art, rituals, taboos, myths, and religious beliefs.

#7 Social Beings

We all see a spectrum of colors. Most animals don’t see colors at all. Yet, color vision isn’t strictly limited to human beings, as the great apes also have it, although it isn’t clear if it is as good as ours.

#9 Color Vision

Human beings all over the world share the same basic emotions, they are: sadness, anger, disgust, fear, surprise and happiness. What accounts for different ways that emotions appear are different cultural display rules, such as whether one can cry in public or show surprise or disgust in different situations.

#8 Emotions
While the great apes can do rudimentary counting, human beings obviously have a common number sense. In primitive societies it is limited to the concept of “1, 2 ... and many”; but all human beings can learn to do mathematics, although it is difficult for some. Complex counting in primitive societies is often done by matching, for instance using stones to represent the number of domestic animals in a group at the beginning of a day and then checking the number of animals against the stones in the evening.

#10 Numerical Ability
These features are not all exclusive to modern man- or even primates in general- rather when looked at holistically and collectively they help define our common traits that makes us stand out from other animals and primates...
The Great Migration
The Neolothic Age
The Neolithic Revolution
Villages grow and prosper
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