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Flashcards in paleoanthropology Deck (31)
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1

definition of hominin

earliest evidence dates to end of micocene and includes dental and cranial pieces

-distinguished from greate apes by:
--bpedal locomotion
--large brain size
--toolmaking behavior

2

mosaic evolution

pattern of evolutino in which the rates of evolution in one functional system vary from those in other systems

3

hominoids

humans and all apes

4

hominids

orangutans, gorillas, bonobos, chimps, and humans

5

paleoanthropology

study of early humans

6

artifacts

material clues that include objects or aterials made or modified for use by hominins

7

tahponomy

the study of the decay of organisms over time, and/or fossilization of organic material. also patterns of sedimentation and damage done to organic material post-deposition

8

context

the environmental setting where an archaeological trace is found

9

primary context

the setting in which the archaeological trace was originally deposited

10

secondary contect

is one to which it has been moved (sucha s by the action of a stream)

11

dating methods

placing sites and fossils into a time frame
-relative dating
-chronometric dating

12

relative dating

whether an object is older or younger than other objects

13

chronometric (absolute) dating

age in years

14

statigraphy

used in relative dating
-the law of superposition states that a lower stratum(layer) is older than a higher stratum
-valuable in reconstructing the history of earth and life
-drawback: disturbances can shift strata and objects, making it difficult or impossible to reconstruct the history

15

fluorine analysis

applied to bones to assess the amount of flourine in ground water incorporated during fossilization
-the longer the time, the more flourine incorporated

-drawback: only useful with bones found at the same location

16

Dendrochronology (tree ring dating)

dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings in wood
-can date the time at which a tree ring formed
-each ring usually corresponds to a year

17

chronometric dating techniques

potassium/argon (k/Ar)
-used for dating material between 1 and 5 million years old (good for hominins)
-involves the decay of potassium into argon
-k/Ar has a half-life of 1.25 billiion years
-Best samples include rocks heated extremeley high

18

Carbon-14

half life of 5730 years
-used to date organic materials
-can estimate ages from just under 1,000 to 60,000 years

19

Thermoluminiscence

relies on principle of radiometric decay
-stone contains trace amounts of radioactive elements
-heating the rock releases displaced beta particles that glow
-by heating the sample and measuring its amount of glow, a date can be determined

20

biostrataphy

faunal correlation
-use faunal remains from different site
-Dates when fossil pigs, elephants, antelopes were present can be used to cross check the other methods

21

Experimental archaeology

helps to understand how artifacts were made and used by reconstructing prehistoric techniques of stone toolmaking, butchering, etc.

22

environmental determinism

links sample environmental changes directly to a major evolutionary shift in an organism

23

theories on origin of bipedalism

-ecological influences
-energy efficiency
-dietary influences
-sexual selection and mating influences

24

ecological influences and bipedalism

bipedal stance allows better view of surrounding
-also exposes to predators though, and doesnt address why other terrestrial primates arent bipedal

25

Energetic efficiency and bipedalism
efficient walking model

bipedal walking is more energetically efficient
-not evidence that early hominins were walking long distances

26

thermoregulatory model (bipedalism reason)

recuces heat gain and increases heat loss

27

postural feeding (bipedalism reason)

began as a way to reach fruit high up in trees

28

responce to resources model (bipedalism)

resource availability influenced bipedality, group size, body size

29

sexual selection and mating strategies (provisioning model)

male provisioning of female and offspring (i.e. bringing food back)
-implies monogamous pair bond, not supported

30

habitual bipeds

bipedalism is most common form of locomotion