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Anthropology in the News



Tuesday, 13 October 2015, 21:33 (09:33 PM) CDT, day 286 of 2015

Prehistoric Cultures

Fall 2012 Calendar -- DAY [archive]

Fall 2012 Calendar -- EVENING [archive]

Dates and Times to Remember

class slides on-line
(free PowerPoint Viewer 2010)

Wednesday, 14 October 2015, 02:33 (02:33 AM) GMT, day 287 of 2015
. . . in History
  . . . in Headlines

      Babel Fish Translation
~ translate this page

Cutting Costs for College Textbooks

general textbook information
OWL logo, Online Writing Lab, Purdue University.

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Australopithecus robustus

Australopithecus robustus
SK 48

The Story of Hominid Evolution

Abstracts: 1 2 Terms / Concepts Notes
Cultures Sites Individuals Bibliography Questions


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In the News . . .

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Part 1: "History of the Anthropoid: The Search for the Beginning"
(47 min., 1997, VC 3641, pt. 1)

"Part 1: Dr. Friedemann Schrenk searches for hominid fossils with famed paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey in East Africa. At excavation sites in northern Tanzania, Leakey discusses four-million-years-old findings and traces their relationship to previous findings-Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis skull found in Ethiopia; Nutcraker Skull, an Australopithecus boisei found in East Africa; and the skull of Homo habilis discovered in 1964. These and other skulls are analyzed within the context of the major evolutionary theories."

Part 2: "Origins of Homo Sapiens: East African Roots"
(47 min., 1997, VC 3641, pt. 2)

"Part 2: Dr. Friedemann Schrenk, a German paleoanthropologist, "travels to several cave sites in Africa, to the laboratory of a South African paleoanthropologist who reveals information gathered when South Africa was out of touch with the world scientific community, and to the United States to study hominid remains."

Terms / Concepts / Features

  • Australopithecus

  • Transvaal -- region in South Africa

  • breccia -- sediments pressed to stone and rich in fossils

  • coproliths

    • fossilized excrement
    • these are rich in petrified bones

  • hominid

  • osteodontokeratic culture (bone-tooth-horn culture)

  • bipedal locomotion

  • parietal bone (part of the sides and top of the skull)

  • prehensil foot

  • "plasters" on the hand

  • "sweet-water lake" = freshwater lake

  • endocasts

  • Wernicke's Area -- left posterior section of the cortex of the brain

  • Broca's area -- that part of the brain involved in language processing

    Broca's and Wernicke's Areas of the brain.

  • mandible (mandibular) -- lower jaw
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As you view the videos pay attention to . . .

  1. the actual content of the various finds

  2. archaeological field methods and techniques

  3. laboratory methods and techniques

    • including reconstruction techniques, and . . .

  4. archaeological dating techniques

  5. theoretical / interpretative approaches

    • including logic of analysis

More information on methods is contained in the text and in the methods slides

Archaeological Methods and Dating Techniques

Some Important Concepts (slides 11B)

Special Skills:

In the Field (slides 10A)

In the Lab (slides 10B)

In the Field and Lab (slides 10C)
Archaeological Dating Methods (slides 10D)
Other Methods of Analysis (slides 10E)


  • With biped locomotion the pelvis changed from a "crane shape" to a pan holding the body's weight

  • With Australopithecus africanus we don't find Broca's and Wernicke's areas in the brain.

    • But the brain is bigger than that of an ape.

  • How did the Taung child die?

    • By a raptor?

      ("Eagles love primates, and it is well-known for its primate eating habits. And we hominids are primates.")

  • Note the discussion of the relationship between the size of the brain and the use of fire

  • Does short intestines and the use of fire yield "leftover energy" for the brain to use?

    • "In most mammals energy is made to operate the intestinal tract."

    • Because of the use of fire and with shorter intestines more energy is available for the brain to work

  • The East African hominids were distributing themselves down the Rift Valley, but the South African hominids were not distributing themselves north

  • role of scavaging, includeing habits of hayenas, vultures, etc.

  • "Cause and effect in evolution often depend on coincidence."

  • "Ape man" tends to be a South African term

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    • Africa

      • Transvaal (area of South Africa) -- 2 - 3 mya

        • Taung
        • Sterkfontein
        • Swartkrans
        • Makapansgat -- 3.3 mya
        • Kromdraai
        • Gladysvale
        • Gondolin

      • Malawi (central East Africa, along the shores of Lake Paleau, "the former Lake Malawi")

        • Uraha
        • Malema

          • 5 Deutsche marks per day = twice the local going rate of pay

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    • Philip Tobias
    • Raymond Dart
      • "Killer Ape theory"
      • "bloodthirsty cannibals"
      • osteodontokeratic culture (bone-tooth-horn culture)
    • Robert Brain
    • Julie McGuire
    • Ron Clark
      • "Little Foot" (1978)
    • Lee Berger
    • Peter Schmidt
    • Friedemann Schrenk
    • Tyson
      • found UR 501 (from Uraha)
    • Tim Bromage
      • 2.5 mya hominid
      • UR 501 (from Uraha)
      • Homo rudolfensus
    • Alan Hughes (1978 -- 3 boxes -- "Little Foot")

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    Publications / Bibliography


    • Why are the bones from Makapansgaat black if not burned by fire?

    • Why do bones become fossils at all? And in such number?

      • Water and lime soak materials into the bone

    Orrorin / Ardipithecus / Australopithecus / Kenyanthropus

    Alternative Name













     "Black Skull"


    (aka A. robustus)





    "Flat-faced Kenya Man"  
    "Millenium Man"

    Adapted from Intoduction to Physical Anthropology, 8th ed, Jurmain, Nelson, Kilgore, and Trevathand
    (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2000, pp. 285 - 290).

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    Page URL: http:// /cla/faculty/troufs/anth1602/video/Story_Hominid.html
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