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Comparative Analysis of Fossils Lab 6

Comparative Analysis of Fossils

Comparative Analysis of Fossils

The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in fossil discoveries, revealing new and unexpected insights into the human past. This has been accompanied by new technologies, and increases in diversity (gender, ethnic, national) representation among scientific researchers, and alternative theories to explain these new discoveries. In short, anthropology in general, and paleoanthropology in particular, has witnessed a revival of sorts. This is an exciting time for anthropology!

As we have learned, a variety of discoveries from Asia and South Africa in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries provided both Homo erectus and Australopithecus remains. In the 1950s and 60s, the search shifted to East Africa, with the series of finds by the Leakey family in Olduvai Gorge, culminating with the discovery of “Lucy” by Don Johanson in 1973.

Although finds continue to accumulate from other regions in southeastern Europe and the Levantine region of the modern Syria, Israel, Jordan, Iraq), as well Iberia and parts of Africa, most of the research for ‘hominin origins’ concentrated on northeastern and eastern Africa.

Now, in the first decades of the 21st Century, we have two startling discoveries that indicate the variation among members of our genus (Homo) that have changed much of how and what we think about how our current species may have originated. Those include the “Little People” (Homo florensiensis) of Indonesia, discovered in 2004, and more recently, Homo naledi in South Africa, discovered in 2013 and brought to light in 2015.

Originally thought to be very old, and at the ‘root’ of our genus, Homo naledi is now believed to be between 200,000 and 300,000 years old. Homo florensiensis has been dated to approximately 18,000 years old. The article below summarizes and offers insights into both of these…

Comparative Analysis of Fossils Instructions for this lab report:

Part I. See Instructions of UNIT III FORUM!!

After reading this article, each member of your team should answer the following questions. These can be in the form of an outline, bullets, or short sentences. These will appear in the Group Discussion Board.

A. What are the key features of Homo naledi that make it similar to Homo sapiens?

B. What are key features of H. naledi that make it different from H. sapiens? Consider dates, locations, anatomical features such as cranial capacity, hands, legs, height, and any associated artifacts.

Based on what you identified above in Question 1, discuss the following:

Identify and apply at least two key processes of evolution (from Unit I) and apply these to understanding reasons for the differences in these different species.

Discuss the process of ‘adaptive radiation’ (anagenisis) and how it might explain something about the diversity of various hominins across Africa, Asia and Europe.

This discussion should include a minimum (a few more would be better) of the different fossil species, representing different time periods.

Comparative Analysis of Fossils

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Last Updated on February 11, 2019

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