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Human Evolution

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Afia Mensah

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of Human Evolution

Human Evolution
3.6 million years ago in Laetoli, Tanzania, early humans walked through wet volcanic ash. When the nearby volcano erupted again, subsequent layers of ash covered and preserved the oldest known footprints of early humans. The Laetoli footprints were most likely made by Australopithecus afarensis.
1. Georgian National Museum.
2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cadell-last/how-does-the-recent-homo-_b_4122501.html
3. http://www.sciencemag.org content/342/6156/326.full
4. http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/17/world/europe/ancient-skull-human-evolution/
5. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131017-skull-human-origins-dmanisi-georgia-erectus/
6.Bibliographic information: David Lordkipanidze et al. 2013. A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biology of Early Homo. Science, vol. 342, no. 6156, pp. 326-331; doi: 10.1126/science.1238484
7. http://www.eva.mpg.de/fileadmin/content_files/primatology/Molecular_Genetics_Laboratory/pdf/HofreiterVigilantOEHG2003.pdf
10. http://burgospedia1.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/gran-dolina-yacimiento-ubicado-en-la-sierra-de-atapuerca/

Human Evolution is believed to have began in Africa ~ 6 million years ago.
It chronicles the Evolutionary change of how we came from our ancestors and how we became the"Modern Humans" of today.

Fossil Record
Fossils are the remains or impressions of living things hardened in rock.

Profiling Fossils
Profiling can help scientists determine :

• The species/ age/sex

• By the anatomical features of the teeth, skull & skeleton

• By looking at the teeth & bones

• By looking at the robustness & the pelvis

• The health

• By examining the skeleton for degenerative diseases or infections
The earliest humans were found in Africa, which is where much of human evolution occurred. The fossils of these early hominids, which lived 2 to 6 million years ago, all come from that continent. Most scientists believe early humans migrated out of Africa into Asia between 2 million and 1.7 million years ago, entering Europe some time within the past 1 million years.

“We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realize that we are apes."
-Richard Dawkin
Walking Upright/ Bipedalism
Before the twentieth century, scientist were under the misconception that big brains was the only trait that maid hominids unique

1920-anatomist Raymond Dart discovered the skull known as the Taung Child in South Africa, because he had a small brain they thought he was mearly an ape

foramen magnum, the hole through which the spinal cord leaves the head, was positioned further forward under the skull than an ape’s, indicating that Taung held its head erect and therefore likely walked upright.
Neanderthals interaction with homo sapiens
About 500,000 years ago, some members of the group of prehistoric Africa migrated to Asia
There they evolved into Neanderthals, who later moved into Europe.
About 100,000 years ago, some of the people from prehistoric Africa left Africa and settled in Asia and later Europe.
Between 100,000 and 60,000 years ago, humans interbred with the Neanderthals in the Middle East.
The scientists determined that non-African human DNA contains about 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal DNA.
Nenderthals went extinct around 30,000 years ago
Neanderthals Mated With Humans. (2010).
Current Science, 96(8), 15.
Works Cited
power grip
precision grip
Evolution of the Human Hand used for Throwing and Clubbing
The human thumb is longer and stronger with more muscle. The thumb is critical for hanging on tight to the club when clubbing an object.

Human hand has a larger, more muscular, mobile, and fully opposable thumb combined with fingers that are shorter and straighter

Greater extension in the human wrist increased the acceleration path for throwing. Expanding the range of ulnar deviation improved the clubbing motion.
Young, R. W. (2002, November 22). Evolution of the
Human Hand: the role of throwing of clubbing. Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 2003(202), 165-174. Retrieved April 26, 2014, from Academic Search Premier.
1.6-million-year-old almost complete skeleton of Homo erectus
found near Lake Turkana, Kenya
seems to be an eight-year-old boy who is five feet tall who could of grown to be six feet tall
is a member of the species Homo ergaster
the first early human with body proportions like our own.
probably lived in the open savanna unlike Lucy who probably lived in the trees part of the time
There is evidence that Turkana boy was under 10 years old when he died.
Turkana Boy
Toumai’ s skull
Sahelanthropus tchadensis(nicknamed ‘Toumai’), would be man's earliest known ancestor
Toumai' skull was discovered in Chad, Africa in 2002
Toumai's skull six to seven million years old.
Toumai skull is an ancestor of man
The new teeth samples show Toumai had small canines, large molars and premolars that had thick enamel.
It is assumed that Toumai walked upright
Turkana Boy
Toumai's Skull
Toumai skull: is it man's earliest ancestor? (2005,
April 8). In Natural Museum History. Retrieved April 26, 2014, from http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2005/april/news_2878.html
Turkana Boy (n.d.). In American Museum of Natural History .
Retrieved April 26, 2014, from http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/human-origins/the-history-of-human-evolution/turkana-boyCalvin College openURL resolver
Compare and contrast primates
Farming and Its Correlation to Human Evolution.
Famous Fossils
Chimpanzees cannot generate a firm pinch or squeeze because the thumb is weak and short.

In throwing, the wrist moves from extension to flexion. During clubbing, it moves from radial to ulnar deviation. These movements in humans far exceed the capabilities of the chimpanzee wrist.
A primate hand is long with curved fingers.
An early hominid behavior was bipedal gait, which would have freed the hands for greater use of tools.
Clubbing demands the power grip that can absorb the reaction force of impact without release of the weapon.
Homo Sapiens Survival?
40% of her body was found in 1974
Climate and Human Evolution

climate variability may ultimately help us make sense of the demise of species in our own family tree
Instability in weather, food, and water inevitably posed challenges to survival,
Australopithecus afarensis
long fingers and toes are good for climbing trees
short legs are helpful for moving around in trees
wide and short pelvis suggests upright posture
thigh bones angle in toward knees, making upright walking easier
Work Cited
Herrera, K. J., Somarelli, J. A., Lowery, R. K., & Herrera,
R. (2009). To what extent did Neanderthals and modern humans interact? Biological Reviews, 84(2009), 245-257. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from Academic Search Premier.
Homo sapiens developed superior hunting techniques , tools, and fire
had higher distal-limb/body ratio
Modern humans had a division of labor
Homo sapiens ability to throw increased their reproductive sucesss
Homo sapeins were bipedal to be able to hold weapons, tools, food, and young
Communication with language
Increased brain volume starting with H. erectus to modern humans
Thick tooth and increased chewing efficiency
Bailey, D. H., & Geary, D. C. (2009, January 10). Hominid Brain
Evolution Testing Climatic, Ecological, and Social Competition Models. Human Nature, 20 (2009), 67-79. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from Academic Search Premier .

Lewin, R. (2009). Human Evolution (5th ed.). N.p.: Wiley-
Blackwell. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
Miller, K. (2013, December 17). Archaeologists Find
Earliest Evidence of Humans Cooking With Fire. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/09-archaeologists-find-earliest-evidence-of-humans-cooking-with-fire
Defining Primate Vs. Human??
* A Primate is a mammal of the order Primates, which include anthropoids and Prosimians. They are characterized by refined hands, feet and a large brain. *Whiles Modern humans (Homo sapiens) are the only extant members of the hominin clade, a branch of great apes characterized by erect posture, bipedal locomotion, increased tool use and a general trend toward larger,more complex brains.

Characteristics Primates have in Common with Humans.
* Hands and Feet can grasp objects.
* Fingernails instead of Claws.
*Flattened face resulting in two eyes next to each other pointing in the same direction.
* 32 permanent teeth.
* Single pair of mammalian glands(breasts).
Contrast between Human Vs Primates.
Human * Primates.
Limited portion of *1. Dense Hairs that covers most of their skin
skin covered in hair except their face, feet and hands.
(e.g top,back and sides of
our head)
Skull is supported on TOP 2. Skull hangs FORWARD vertebral column.
of our vertebral column.
Facial Structure: 3. Facial Structures.
a. Small eyebrow ridges. a. Prominent eye ridges
b. Protruding Nose b. Flattened nose
c. Flattened Jaws c. Very large Jaws (for eating)
d. Large Lips. d. Thin Lips (relative to humans)
Walking Upright 4. Shuffle on all fours (both hands and feet)
a. legs longer than arms. a. long arms (proportionally longer than humans).
b. Wide Pelvis (relative to apes) b.Narrow Pelvis (relative to humans)
c. ability to straighten the knee c. Knees are bent
d. Arched Feet d. Flat, fat feet.
e. Large buttocks (relative to apes)

Work Citied.

IvyRose Holistics, Human Biology "Human Vs Primates. N.p 2003; May 4, 2014.
* Humans are not the only ones to use tools. Chimpanzees are most frequent toolmakers and tool- users. They modify sticks for termite fishing, honey extracting from beehives and they break open nuts and other objects with branches and rocks using a hammer and anvil technique.Chimpanzees are known to have knowledge of medicinal plants in which they use in curing intestinal parasites.

* Early Hominids used
Fire as a means of warmth
during cold weather . It also provided safety for night predators and was also use in the preparation of foods to soften it and to dry hides and meat.

How did they Obtain Fire ???
Through Volcanic eruption and lightening strikes .

How did they learn to maintain Fire ???
In South Africa, about 1.5 million years ago , researches found old burned animal bones . More evidence were discovered in China between 460,000 and 230,000 years ago , researchers discovered burned animals bones along with charred seeds and stone tools.
The earliest
was found in France about 465,000years ago , here hominids repeatedly used charcoal pits ringed with stones. By 100,000 years ago , hearths were common . With this early hominids learned to control fire and socialize within themselves.

* Early Hominids were involved in Hunting. They made
tools carved from stones

and branches
. They used this carved branches and rocks as weapons for hunting their prey for meat and they cooked their meat using Fire.

Ealy Craftmanship: Implement in Stone and Bones."Becoming Human" ; Ed. Terry Ritman, Institute of human Origin.Feb 2007. May 4, 2013. http://www.becominghuman.org..
Earliest hominids didn’t get around exactly as we do today.

It’s not until the emergence of H. erectus 1.89 million years ago that hominids grew tall, evolved long legs and became completely terrestrial creatures.

Walking Upright/ Bipedalism
What makes us unique?
Brain Size
Prolonged childhood


Language is significant because unlike most animals we use an open communication system as opposed to a closed communication system in which each sound conveys a specific message.

Several factors contributing to language include the larynx which sits high on humans enabling us to have a wide range of sounds. Early hominids were more limited in the sounds the could emit as a result of the position of their larynx.

Another factor is the brain. The Broca and Wernike’s areas control syntax ability to speak grammatically correct and recognize familiar words. If both areas are damaged a person would not be able to produce or understand speech.

Brain size
From 800,000–200,000 years ago

Human brain size evolved most rapidly during a time of dramatic climate change. Larger, more complex brains enabled early humans of this time period to interact with each other and with their surroundings in new and different ways. As the environment became more unpredictable, bigger brains helped our ancestors survive.
Are human beings the pinnacle of evolution? In other words, are we the "best evolved" species - the "objective" of the evolutionary process?

If intelligence is so useful why are we the only species to have evolved it?
Are we still evolving or does science and technology do it for us?
Should we attempt to clone Neanderthals from their DNA samples?
If Neanderthals had survived to this day how do you think our species - Homo sapiens - would treat them?
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