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Thread: Human Evolution at Olduvai

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    Human Evolution at Olduvai

    REALLY old Human Evolution. :)


    "Hominin encephalization has been at the center of debates concerning human evolution with a consensus on a greater role for improved dietary quality. To sustain the energetic demands of larger brains, cooking was likely essential for increasing the digestibility and energy gain of meat and readily available, yet toxic starches. Here, we present the oldest geochemical evidence for a landscape influenced by tectonic activity and hydrothermal features that potentially shaped early hominin behaviour at Olduvai Gorge. Although use of fire at this time is controversial, hot springs may have provided an alternative way to thermally process dietary resources available in the 1.7 Myo Olduvai wetland. Our data supports the presence of an aquatic-dominated landscape with hydrothermal features that offered hominins new opportunities to hunt and cook readily available tubers and herbivore prey at the emergence of the Acheulean technology. Future studies should further examine whether hydrothermalism similarly influenced other critical aspects of human evolution."

    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Perspectives of linking the pieces

    The picture that's is painted challenges how each moment of the steps from curiosity to the wonder of the discovery. Sharing the time to explore and ask the infamous search of what's next.

    Two million years ago, Paranthropus robust us lived in South Africa and used the leg bones of various large wildlife species as digging tools.

    These tools, discovered in Swartkrans Cave, area collection of long, thick bones that have a tapered pointas a result of usage and exhibit extensive wear on the end of each bone. From the onset of their discovery, it has been demonstrated that these particular bones would have been ideal digging tools. By studying the microwaveable on these bone tools, the diet of P.robustuscan be more accurately reconstructed and understood. Using multidisciplinary analysis of the tools, including isotopic analysis and dental microzoaire analysis of P. robust us, as well as are cognition of the nutrients available to P. robustus geographically, researchers have developed two potential food sources that P. robustus could have likely been digging to reach. These two camps of thought are (1)P. robust us was using these tools to dig for the nutrient-rich part of plant roots, called tubers, or (2) they were using these tools to acquire termite proteins by cracking the hard-outer shell of termite mounds.Through a comparative study of the original bone tools in conjunction with experimental tools, which have been created to replicates scratches resulting from their usage, I hypothesize that the original bone tools were used by P. robustus to dig into termite mounds.This hypothesis supports the positionthat P. robustus preferred the consumption of social insects, and that termites were an important part of the diet of P. robustus.This emphasis in the diet of P. robustus exemplifies a shift in overall hominid diet in which plant-based foods decreased and protein-rich resources increased. The results of this study provide an additional example of this shift. Although it is generally accepted that P. robustus was a “dead end” in the hominin evolutionary tree, reconstruction of their diet and tool abilities 2 shed slight on the abilities and dietary proclivities of early Homos well. Comparative analysis between late Paranthropus and early Homo suggest isotopic and morphometric similarities, so the trends observed in P. robustus could indicate similar trends in the Homo lineage.

    This article is a paper for her PhD. from bepress.
    Sara Gardner
    Georgia State University

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