Australopithecines to Homo and “The Story of Lucy”

According to “The Story of Lucy”, did our ancestors become bipedal first and get smart later?

The discovery of Lucy has revealed crucial facts proving that bipedalism came first. The remains of the skeleton presented specific anatomical features. It turned out that the upper part of Lucy’s body was apelike, while the lower part was humanlike (Neanderthals on trial 2002). As for her pelvis and knee joints, they were typical of bipedalism. The joints of her knees were locked straight, and the structure of her bones resembled the modern human form (Jordan, 2013).

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Lucy had broad a pelvis and the rib cage in the shape of a funnel. In general, the hip, leg, and shinbone resembled human’s rather than chimp’s, and it distinguished Lucy from quadrupeds. The fossil presented that the hominid was capable of walking upright; however, there were no signs of intellectual development (no language, no tools).

Could A. afarensis have been able to make and use tools?

As per the findings in Ethiopia Afar Basin, the A. afarensis have used unaltered rocks to remove the flesh of cows, antelopes and other animals from the bones. The Australopithecus afarensis used the stones to cut or crush flesh and bones and, probably utilized them as hunting arsenal. Nevertheless, there is not enough evidence whether the apelike ancestors made any of those tools themselves (Neanderthals on trial 2002).

What arguments can be made for Kenyanthropus platyops being closer to the ancestral line of humans than Lucy and her kind?

It is difficult to say if the K. platyops is more closely related to modern humans that Lucy, while there are many missing pieces of the fossils that could potentially reveal the truth. However, K. platyops has less protruding jaw than Lucy and her kin does and platyops’ cheekbones are more pronounced (Jordan, 2013). These features compose a less apelike face than that of Lucy’s. Although platyops has smaller teeth, a different type of diet can explain this feature.

What are two interpretations from existing evidence dominate food getting among early hominids?

Hunting-gathering (foraging) and scavenging were the two main hypotheses of food getting among early hominids. In terms of foraging theory, the early hominids hunted or trapped animals or fished, as well as gathered fruits, vegetables, nuts, insects and so on. Their diet depended on the environment (Jordan, 2013). While according to the second theory, the ancestors were passive scavengers rather than hunters. However, many scientists claim that foraging provoked hominids to run after animals, which may have resulted in the evolution of some human characteristics and attributes.

What is the difference between the tool-making and other technologies of Homo habilis and that of Homo erectus?

Homo habilis used altered stone cobbles with the end of the stone knocked off by another stone. (Stanford, Allen, & Anton, 2012). As it was difficult for the H. habilis to cut through thick skin, they utilized cobbles to butcher and slice the animal meat. This kind of tool was not modified in the knife and remained a simple flake tool (Jordan, 2013). Whereas Homo erectus created more sophisticated tools out of stones, for instance, they were able to sharpen and straighten the tool’s edges. Moreover, they were capable of mastering implements out of wood, bark or grass. Further, Homo erectus were the first to try moving to accommodation in colder areas (Robert & Lewin, 2013). Erectus used fire for cooking or heating. Unfortunately, it is not known whether they were able to obtain fire at will.

How can the association of tool-making ability with cranial capacity and hand development be traced?

Homo heidelbergensis cranial volume was almost 90 percent of the cranial capacity of Homo sapiens (Robert & Lewin, 2013). Homo neanderthalensis maintained the main features of the predecessor, although they had a larger brain. They were able to show the tool-making abilities like heidelbergensis and used various sophisticated tools, obtained fire and possessed hunting skills, which evidences that their hand development was continuing.

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Jordan, P. (2013). Neanderthal: Neanderthal man and the story of human origins. Stroud, UK: The History Press.

Robert, A. F., & Lewin, R. (2013). Principles of human evolution. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Stanford, C., Allen, J. S., & Anton, S. C. (2012). Exploring biological anthropology. London, UK: Person.

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