Science is always evolving. New discoveries shape our current understanding of human evolutionary milestones such as bipedalism, the use of tools, dietary adaptation, changing body shapes and sizes, and life historys.
Join us to reflect on the roots of humanity as we explore key early hominin adaptations and their evolution through time. Speakers include: Zeray Alemseged, Adrienne Zihlman, Tanya Smith and Teresa Steele.
Adrienne Zihlman is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Zihlman's research interests are in primate and human evolution. Her publications cover topics on the evolution of human locomotion, chimpanzee and gorilla anatomy, sexual dimorphism, growth and development, and the role of women in evolution. She is co-editor of The Evolving Female: A Life History Perspective and author of The Human Evolution Coloring Book. A book on comparative ape anatomy is in progress. She is a Fellow and Science Trustee of the California Academy of Sciences.
Anthropology Professor Adrienne Zihlman presents the similarities between the skeletons of male and female pygmy chimpanzees as an example of how difficult it can be to determine the sex of the fossilized remains of early human-like species.
Evolution of modern human beings from extinct nonhuman and humanlike forms. Genetic evidence points to an evolutionary divergence between the lineages of humans and the great apes on the African continent 85 million years ago (mya). The earliest fossils considered to be remains of hominins (members of the human lineage) date to at least 4 mya in Africa; they include the genus Australopithecus and other forms. The next major evolutionary stage, Homo habilis, inhabited sub-Saharan Africa about 21.5 mya. Homo habilis appears to have been supplanted by a taller and more humanlike species, Homo erectus, which lived from c. 1,700,000 to 200,000 years ago, gradually migrating into Asia and parts of Europe. Between c. 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis, sometimes called archaic Homo sapiens, lived in Africa, Europe, and perhaps parts of Asia. Having features resembling those of both H. erectus and modern humans, H. heidelbergensis may have been an ancestor of modern humans and also of the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis), who inhabited Europe and western Asia from c. 200,000 to 28,000 years ago. Fully modern humans (H. sapiens) seem to have emerged in Africa only c. 150,000 years ago, perhaps having descended directly from H. erectus or from an intermediate species such as H. heidelbergensis.
Nickname for a remarkably complete (40% intact) hominin skeleton found by Donald Johanson at Hadar, Eth., in 1974 and dated to 3.2 million years ago. The specimen is usually classified as Australopithecus afarensis and suggestsby having long arms, short legs, an apelike chest and jaw, and a small brain but a relatively humanlike pelvisthat bipedal locomotion preceded the development of a larger (more humanlike) brain in hominin evolution. Lucy stood about 3 ft 7 in. (109 cm) tall and weighed about 60 lbs (27 kg). See alsoHadar remains; Laetoli footprints; Sterkfontein.