Week Five

There is history of non-human primates that can help of better understand the evolution of humans. These non-human primates are known as sahelanthropus, orrorin, and ardipithecus. Even though these non-human primates care a lot of common features with apes, they are hominin, so some where in history they share a common ancestor with humans.

The most dominant hominin traits that can inform us about modern human biology is bipedalism, canines and a grasping big toe. Bipedalism is the ability to walk on two legs. For most primates, such as the chimpanzee, walking on two legs only becomes uncomfortable for them and this is the biggest trait that separates humans from other primates. All hominin are bipedal. Being bipedal has helped increase the intelligence of hominin over he years. Without bipedalism we will not be able to use the tools or create the different architect that we have done over the centuries. Large Canines is another hominin trait. As seen in the Ardipithecus,their Canines were used for fighting, which is probably why they were so large. The Ardi’s canines are smaller than chimpanzees but larger than humans. The last hominin trait that can inform us about modern human biology is a grasping big toe. Again, this trait is seen best on the Ardipithecus fossil. A grasping big toe is referred to as the big toe being unaligned with the other four toes just like humans. The difference is on the Ardi the big toe is off to the side and it grasp, the same way that humans hands does or the same way a modern chimpanzee foot does too.

Fossil remains can also help reconstruct the past. It helps us learn the biology of different animals and it helps us compare and contrast the human biology with other animals biology. Fossil remains can also help us better understand the need of certain physical traits, such as our teeth or us being bipedal. Without the finding of fossils we would never know if hominid’s had teeth and the size of their teeth. That’s an important physical trait because it let us know what food they might of ate and if they were combative. Fossil remain helps link humans with common ancestors of other primates and lets us know why we use different body functions the way that we do.

Overall I really enjoyed this week’s lecture. It was interesting in learning about these non-human primates and see that we share a common ancestor with these hominins.

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