|"Archaic" Homo sapiens||
Earlier forms of Homo sapiens who were anatomically and behaviorally distinct from modern humans.
A taxonomic family denoting the extant chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. This is biologically invalid grouping given that chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans
|Bonobos (Pan paniscus), Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)|
|Acheulean (Mode 2)||
A stone tool type characterized by oval or pear-shaped bi-faced “hand axes” and are typically associated with Homo erectus. ~1.76 mya - 130 kya.
A genus of extinct hominins dating ~4 mya to 2 mya, and found primarily in eastern and southern Africa. Homo may have evolved from a late australopithecine. Australopithecine brain size is ~35% of the size of the modern human brain. Most species were short in stature, although sexual dimorphism was pronounced. Some examples of australopithecines:
The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others.
A group of organisms consisting of a common ancestor and all descendants on a particular lineage. Represents a single branch on the “tree of life.”
A branching diagram used to show hypothetical relations among groups of organisms and their hypothetical most common ancestors. It is not an evolutionary tree as it does not show how ancestors are related to descendants, nor does it show evolutionary distance or time.
Behavior and norms that are shared, learned, and socially transmitted.
An extinct hominin population contemporary with Neanderthals that hybridized with ancient humans and Neanderthals. Knowledge of Denisovan morphology is limited to two small fossils found in Siberia and a jaw in Tibet.
Northern Chad. A fossil rich desert that is most famous for the discovery of Sahelenthropous tchadensis (Toumai) in 2001.
The interaction of organisms with their physical environment, along with other organisms.
Eastern Senegal. Excavations have led to the the discovery of paleolithic occupations from different periods, cultures, and lithic technologies.
Searching for wild food or provisions as opposed to cultivating food crops or breeding livestock.
A taxonomic rank used in biological classification of living and fossil organisms to group closely related species. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name plus species name forms the binomial species name (e.g. Homo sapiens).
|Homo sapiens, Species|
The current geological epoch, from about 11.7 kya to the present.
A classification comprising all living and extinct “Great Apes” and humans.
A classification of species comprising humans and our extinct relatives following the split with the common ancestor with chimpanzees.
The genus that comprises the species Homo sapiens, as well as several extinct species classified as ancestral to, or closely related to, humans.
An extinct hominin species with fossil evidence from at least 1.9 million years to 70 thousand years ago and found from Africa to Indonesia. May have been the first hominin to leave Africa. H. erectus DNA may be retrievable from other species due to archaic admixture.
An extinct archaic species of the genus Homo dating to ~2.1 to 1.5 mya. H. habilis means “handy man” and was named so because of its association with stone tools. H. habilis has intermediate morphology between Australopithecus and Homo erectus. There is ongoing debate if H. habilis should be moved to the Australopithecus genus. Initial discovery was made by Mary and Louis Leakey at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania between 1962 and 1964.
A lithic technology cultural period in the Middle Stone Age in Africa named after the Howieson’s Poort Shelter archeological site near Grahamstown, South Africa. Dates range from ~65.8 kya to 59.5 kya. Examples include composite weapons hafted with ochre and gum compound glue and microlith blades, bone arrows, and needles.
A human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals), in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species.
|Immediate Return Hunter-Gatherers||
Those who do not store food, but consume it within a day or two of obtaining it. This means there is no opportunity to accumulate surplus.
A river and cave system in the Tsitsikamma coast, Humansdorp district, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Evidence for middle stone age-associated human habitation has been found in the nearby cave system dating to ~125 kya.
A palaeoanthropological area in the southern Main Ethiopian Rift that was discovered 1991 The Konso-Gardula sediments span ~ 1.9 mya to 1.3 mya. Early Homo fossils and Acheulean stone tools have been found here.
Thousand years ago.
Maternally inherited DNA found only in the mitochondria, the energy producing organelles of eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria are thought to descend from symbiotic bacteria that have become part of eukaryotic cells.
|Bacteria, Chromosome, DNA, Eukaryotes|
Million years ago.
|Oldowan (Mode 1)||
A stone tool type characterized by simple “choppers” for pounding, breaking, and bashing. ~2.6 - 1.7 mya.
A genus of extinct bipedal hominins dating to ~ 2.6 mya to 1.1 mya that lived throughout eastern and south Africa. Their robust cranialdental anatomy suggests an adaptation to a diet of tough vegetation. Possible tool use is indicated by hands adapted for precision grasping. They probably descended from the gracile australopithecine hominids (Australopithecus) ~2.7 million years ago, hence their alternative name, robust australopithecine, and ongoing debate on genus.
Observable traits of an organism that result from interactions between genes and environment during development.
A branching diagram showing the evolutionary relationships among biological species, or other entities, based on their physical or genetic characteristics.
A geological epoch from ~2.5 mya to 11.7 kya characterized by a period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archeology. Subdivisions:
A group of mammals that include humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians.
|Sahelanthropus tchadensis (Toumaï)||
An extinct archaic species of hominin dating close to the split between the chimpanzee-human split, ~7 mya. A probable ancestor to Orrorin tugenensis and may have walked bipedally.
Organisms that search for and feed on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse.
Isotopes that do not decay into other elements. These isotopes, found in biological material, including fossils, and can be used to study paleo-diet and ecology.
The prehistoric period during which stone was used to make tools and weapons and is synonymous with the paleolithic. ~3.4 mya - 10 kya. In African archaeology, stone age chronology is divided into Early Stone Age (ESA): ~2.6 mya to ~300 kya; Middle Stone Age (MSA): ~300 kya to ~50 kya; and Later Stone Age (LSA): ~ 50 kya to ~39 kya.
The differences among the individuals of the same species.
One of the two allosomes of the mammalian genome that determine sex. The Y-chromosome can only be inherited paternally.
|Allosomes, Chromosome, DNA, Genome|