Blog Five – Hominin Traits

There are several traits that can show us about human biology, such as teeth. Hominins all have teeth which provide us with extremely valuable information, such as what a species eats or whether or not they fought with other animals. It can tell us if the hominin was a meat eater or strictly ate non meat. You can instantly relate this alone to the topic of fossilized remains being important to look at the past and see human ancestors. Without fossilized remains, we could not study what kind of animals were alive in the past and what they did and how they relate to humans. It is immensely important as it gives us species that could be our potential ancestors and allows us to study the earlier form of bipedal species that could be extremely similar to us. Without fossils anthropologists would be a lot less informed and a lot more lost about this subject and hence we wouldn’t even know that teeth played an important role in illustrating human biology as well. The first ancestors we had seemed to have canine teeth, which as i mentioned before can be used to attack predators or hold onto branches. These canine teeth eventually turned into molars for chewing over time, which could be an example of how they are in human evolution as well. We have canines and molars for chewing and cutting as they teach you in anatomy. We can also look at the brain and head size of our hominins. The brain and skill capacity is just another distinction which separates several hominins. Certain traits came along with bigger heads and larger brains such as using tools. Could this mean that a larger brain allows us to have intelligence and a trait of using tools. The size of the skull is also linked to bipedalism. As hominins had larger brains they eventually became bipedal. They adapted more and could start using tools, the study of these things are all linked when it comes to the increase of the brain use. As you can see it is a rather important trait as well. You can also look at limb length and see whether or not hominins were climbing like creatures of did they stay in open fields. This is yet another trait that can be studied in order to figure out whether or not they are related to us in any way. Basically looking at all these traits illustrates a few things all in all. The study of all these characteristics can allow researchers to place hominins in certain time eras and illustrate how they evolved slowly but surely over time. It can also make them reconstruct the past with the same type of knowledge. If they can look at characteristics of hominins they can look back at the ancestors of certain people and determine whether or not they were actually from the same family. All in all, the fossilized remains and characteristics that are observed are vital to the study of evolving and adaptation as well as the study of our past.

 

6 thoughts on “Blog Five – Hominin Traits

  1. Hi! I really enjoyed reading your post. I agree with you that teeth can be an important trait for us to study hominins. When studying Australopithecus hominins, the lecture mentioned that their teeth, particularly canines, transformed into a smaller form because the canines will be used less when fighting and hunting standing up; but the limb length extended(and that’s what you have mentioned, too!). All of these are the interesting traits they adapted through the evolution. Isn’t it amazing that they finally developed thoughts to use the tool? If bipedalism is considered their “first step,” then using the tool should be the second step. Also, I agree with you that we can dig deep into our past by studying those useful fossils, and it’s also very interesting to do the puzzle!

  2. I also found looking at teeth to be very interesting because I never realized how important they could be to this field. For example, in fossils such as Australopithecus Sediba, the teeth were so well preserved that they could still be counted. This gave us so much info on his diet and what he primarily used his teeth for. As you mentioned, our early ancestors had much larger canines than ours. Since they used to have to fight and were not bipedal, they would lead with their face and attack with their canines. It is strange to think about humans behaving like this now because of how far we have evolved, but that was a basic function that teeth used to be used for. As we grew and humans were no longer using their canines to fight, they became smaller for chewing much more like how our teeth look today.

  3. I did not know that we can know what a species eat from their teeth or even if they have been fighting. That is very interesting but it makes a lot of sense because many dangerous predators have sharp canines with bigger teeth also. I completely agree without fossilized remains we woild not be able to know anything about our old species and ancestors. The fossilized remains are so important to our worl as a growing population and also to make our world smarter an stronger. If we know what our ancestors did to survive with less technology back then we can do many more things nowadays to further our defense and knowledge as a human race. If we don’t keep studying non humans could wipe us out way in the future.

  4. I agree with your statement that fossilized remains are extremely important for anthropologists to determine human ancestors and other organisms. It is interesting that human ancestors had large canine with small incisor and molar, which could be used to eat hard foods, but I did not know that they could attack predators with their teeth. It makes sense though. At that time, our ancestors did not have the intelligence to make weapons. Therefore, if brain size is correlated to intelligence, like you said, it is possible that we have the intelligence to do complex things due to large brain size. I have never though about the size of the skull is linked to bipedallism before this week’s lecture, in this case, bipedal walking actually helps us save energy and adapt different environment.

  5. The early hominins were significantly smaller on average than modern humans. Adult male australopithecines were usually only about 4.3-4.9 feet tall and weighed around 88-108 pounds. Females were much smaller and less muscular. They were usually 3.4-4.1 feet tall and weighed only 64-75 pounds. This is greater sexual dimorphism click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced than is found in human populations today. In some australopithecine species, sexual dimorphism may have been nearly as great as among the great apes. Female gorillas weigh about 61% that of males, while modern human females are about 83% the weight of males. Based on the time frame, body shape, and dentition similarities, it is reasonable to conclude that some of the early hominin species were ancestors of our genus Homo. Most likely, some of the australopithecines were in our line of evolution, but the later paranthropoids were not. The first humans were contemporaries of the paranthropoids. As a result, they could not be our ancestors. However, it is likely that Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus were in our evolutionary line. Australopithecus garhi and/or Australopitheus sediba may also have been our ancestors, though more evidence is needed to settle this question.

  6. I like that you chose teeth as your beginning topic. I agree that teeth can teach a lot about hominins, including what they ate and how they defended themselves against predators. I also agree that fossilized remains open the doors to the past and allow us to see how those living things relate to humans. It does seem that without fossils, anthropologist would be lost in their search for answers to our ancestry. I liked your more detailed example concerning the evolution of canine teeth into the small molars humans have today that are only used for chewing. The brain of hominins is a very interesting topic that seems to have endless details. If the size of the skull and brain are correlated to bipedalism and basic intelligence, it seems logical to assume that is why humans have a higher intelligence than apes. I see the topic of limbs as very important as well as, like you mentioned, it leads to answers concerning the environments in which the hominins lived in. Clearly, human limbs are no longer used for climbing through trees like they often were in the past. I agree that the study of all these traits is what allows anthropologists to reconstruct that past and create answers. Great job!

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