Blog Post Five- Hominin Traits

This week’s lectures, videos, and readings have once again proven to be super interesting.
I really enjoy how this class dives into topics that most of us have probably been taught about in some way or another however briefly it may have been. For example, last week, when we discussed the ways primate’s behavior can often times reflect human nature. I had always known that we shared characteristics to primates but did I know that they sometimes seem to embody human emotions? No. Same with this week. I feel like at some age, I can hardly even remember when I first had this concept put into little noggin’ in elementary school but I know at some point, at a young age, I learned that hominin traits (didn’t know that’s what they were called, of course) can tell us a lot about who we are as humans. This week, we learned even more in depth about traits that inform us about our modern biology.

Let’s start with bipedalism. Or rather, walking on two legs. I feel like, this is the concept that we relate ourselves the most to. The way that this came about is actually pretty cool. The ape species essentially had to adapt by walking on their hind legs to be able to survive when temperatures plummeted making their habitats unlivable. Several plants and animals died. Having the ability to adapt to our environment to survive is one of the most awesome characteristics about being a human. It’s interesting to look back and see this with the ape species thousands of years ago which thus makes this characteristic of ours primal and instinctual and again, I think that’s really cool. The other trait that I think is super neat, yes, neat, is the ability to utilize fossils to understand the world around us and how we got to where we are today. I remember being super into Paleontology as a little kid- specifically dinosaurs because didn’t everyone want to uncover a dinosaur in their backyard? Fossils give us the ability to see how organisms survived and adapted throughout the course of time. It can also tell us quite a bit about geography. The world has changed and shifted so much since the beginning of time and it’s interesting to know that several places in our world used to be bodies of water at one point in time or how erosion has helped us to understand species that once lived. Fossils also help researchers categorize different species and can allow them to see how several species have evolved. Fossils can also show us migration patterns.

All in all- hominin traits are awesome. They give us a good insight into the world we live in now and give us an interesting perspective of the way the world used to be, as well as gives us cool ways of understanding how humans have evolved over time. It’s so incredible to see how the human species has survived and withstood so much over time, it’s wild to think about how much more evolving and growing we are capable of.

One thought on “Blog Post Five- Hominin Traits

  1. I, too, had an attentional focus on bipedalism as a defining trait in human beings, and the relationship this trait establishes between us and our bipedal ancestors is quite significant. Amongst primates, our constant utilization of bipedalism for movement is unique to only us. In a way, it signifies a significant removal from our primate cousins; second only, in my opinion, in apparency to our intelligence, and all the behaviors that come with it. The only other mammal on earth that regularly uses bipedal, alternating gait, movement is the ground pangolin. The ground pangolin lives in Africa, and is similar in appearance to an armadillo, though it is not within the same phylogenic order, as pangolins are more closely related to ant-eaters. This is another example of how evolution drives change in differing species for differing reasons, often with similar results. A pangolin is starkly contrasted in behavior, diet, and sociality to primates, yet also evolved bipedalism though evolution.

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