ANTH B101 Midterm 2023

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What is anthropology?

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What is anthropology?

the study of human culture and evolutionary aspects of human biology

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What are the four fields of anthropology? Describe them.

Cultural Anthropology - the study of living people, their social groups, and cultural behaviors.

Linguistic Anthropology - how language changes over time and how human social culture affects language.

Archaeology - the study of the human past (deep past, recent past, and present) by examining what is left behind.

Biological Anthropology - the study of human biology in terms of evolution and the interaction between biology and culture.

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What are the steps of the scientific method?

Observation, Hypothesis, Testing, Interpretation, Conclusion

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What is the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific law?

Theory - a collection of mutually consistent hypotheses that have withstood repeated attempts at rejection.

Law - An observation that is valid under known specific circumstances.

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What is the significance of the HMS Beagle?

- it brought about evidence that the Earth had a deep time scale

- animals from different regions looked slightly different from each other

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What did Darwin observe in the finches?

- variation in their beaks due to differences in diet and habitat

- island and mainland finches looked slightly different

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What was Darwin's theory of natural selection?

- constant struggle for survival

- "favourable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavourable ones to be destroyed"

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What is the scientific definition of evolution?

changes in allele frequency in populations over time

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What is evolutionary fitness?

relative reproductive success of an individual

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What are the 4 mechanisms of evolution?

mutation, genetic drift, gene flow, natural selection

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What is a mutation?

change in the DNA sequence that might result in a phenotypic change

- the only mechanism that can produce new variation

- can be good, bad, or neutral

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What is the difference between gene flow and genetic drift?

gene flow - the transfer of genes between populations, brought about by migration, mating, or hybridization

genetic drift - changes in allele frequencies by random chance

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Under genetic drift, what is the founders effect and the bottleneck effect?

founder effect - migration to a new area, where the founder population will begin to grow

bottleneck effect - natural or human-made disaster with few survivors, and, therefore, a new population will begin grow from those few survivors

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What is natural selection and who does it affect?

directional change in allele frequencies due to environmental factors

- it affects individuals, those individuals dying off or staying alive will affect the evolution of the population

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What is a species?

a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding, that are reproductively isolated from others

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What is a species concept and what are the 4 examples we learned in class?

- a species concept is a way of defining a species

- biological species concept: interbreeding populations, reproductively isolated from others

- phylogenetic species concept: smallest distinguishable cluster of ancestors and descendants

- evolutionary species concept: unique evolutionary lineage

- recognition species concept: unique traits/behaviors that allows identification of mates

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What are the types of isolation (4)?

- habitat

- temporal (breeds in different months, diurnal vs. nocturnal)

- behavioral (mating behaviors are different and unrecognizable to some)

- mechanical (cannot mate due to anatomical differences

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What is the difference between homology and homoplasy (analogy)?

homology - similarities due to common ancestry, implies shared descent

homoplasy - similarities due to common function, implies parallel evolution, but not common descent

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What is cladistics?

method of classification using hypothesised evolutionary relationships and shared, derived characteristics to link taxa together

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What are phylogenetic trees?

- branch lengths can indicate time

- ancestor-descendant relationships can be represented

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What are the three types of traits we learned in class?

shared trait - present in more than one taxon

ancestral trait - expressed in an ancestor and a descendant

derived trait - expressed in a descendant but not the ancestor (new)

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What is speciation?

the formation of new species via reproductive isolation

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What are the two ways (tempos) speciation can happen?

- phyletic gradualism: slow, incremental evolutionary change

- punctuated equilibrium: rapid bursts of change followed by long periods of stasis

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What is race?

the idea that human variation can be classified

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How was race viewed historically, compared to now?

historically: Renaissance brought about the biological concept of race, when Europeans began travellign more and seeing people that looked different from them. based on creationism and religious beliefs: monogenism (one creation event created all humans) vs. polygenism (a creation event happened for each race)

current: there is great evidence that race is a social concept and should be treated as such, but, the lasting affects of historical, biological viewpoints of race still run rampant in the science and medicine fields.

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What is Bergmann's rule?

more body mass = warmer

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What is Allen's Rule?

shorter appendages in colder climates, longer appendages in warmer climates, spreading out the body mass so that heat is let out easier with longer appendages

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why did skin color evolve?

as humans expanded into hot, more open environments in Africa, they underwent selective pressure to stay cool: longer limbs, less body hair, and darker skin color to protect skin from UV. as humans then expanded into cooler climates with less UV, they no longer benefitted as much from dark skin and evolved to have lighter skin to allow more Vitamin D to enter their body

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Does variation increase or decrease when comparing different groups? What about when comparing the individuals inside the groups?

there is more variation within groups than between groups

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What is a cline?

a gradual change in some phenotypic characteristic from one geographical population to the next

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What does proximal mean?

higher than the reference point given. for example, the humerus is proximal to the radius. distal is the opposite: lower

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What does mesial and distal mean?

mesial is closer to the middle of the teeth, distal is to closer to the back of the teeth (NOT related to the center of the mouth, but where the front teeth meet)

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What is the difference between the appendicular and axial skeleton?

- appendicular skeleton is the bones of the limbs and pelvis and shoulder. - axial skeleton refers to the torso, vertebral column, ribs, etc.

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What is the human dental formula?

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What does lateral mean?

away from the midline of the body, relative to the point given. for example, the fibula is lateral to the tibia. medial is the opposite: closer to the midline of the body

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What is the lower jaw bone and what is the significance of the size of molars to the size of the lower jaw bone?

- mandible

- the larger the molars, the larger the mandible

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What bone surrounds the foramen magnum?


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How many pairs of ribs are there?


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What does anterior and posterior mean?

anterior (front), posterior (back)

the frontal face bones are anterior to the foramen magnum at the base of the skull

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What is the scapula? Where is it positioned in Cercopithecoids compared to Hominoids?

the scapula is the shoulder blade. it is oriented on the side of the rib cage in cercopithecoids and the back of the rib cage in hominoids

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Who has unfused mandibles, or what can that trait be used to distinguish between?

strepsirrhines and tarsiers have unfused mandibles, all other primates have fused mandibles

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What is a genotype and phenotype?

Genotype - Gene combination for a trait: TT, Tt or tt Phenotype - Physical appearance of trait: Tall or short

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How many alleles are in one gene?


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Is genetic drift more significant in smaller or larger populations?

smaller because it will change the already more limited amount of allele frequencies than in a larger population

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Does human variation occur in a cline?


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Are there distinct human groups that could be considered biological races?


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Can racism affect biology, health, and well-being?


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Which of these traits can be used to distinguish primates from non-primates?

1) has five digits

2) has claws

3) has Y-5 molars

4) has forward-facing eyes

4) has forward facing eyes

- few other mammals have forward facing eyes, and those that did would have evolved convergent to primates

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Which groups would include humans? (more than one answer)

- strepsirhines

- haplorhines

- catarrhines

- hominoids

- primates

- non primates

- cercopithecoids

- platyrrhines

in order

- primates

- haplorhines (tarsiers and anthropoids)

- catarrhines (monkeys of the Africas - cercepoithicoids and apes - hominoids)

- hominoids (includes all apes)

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Where are New World and Old World monkeys found?

new world - Americas

old world - Africa and Eurasia

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What/who is the dental comb an indication of?

strepsirrhines have one, but haplorhines do not

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What/who is post-orbital closure an indication of?

haplorhines, strepsirhines have a bar but not full closure

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Are New World Monkeys Platyrrhines or Catarrhines?


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Are Old World Monkeys platyrrhines or catarrhines?


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Are apes plattyrhines or catarrhines?


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What is the significance of the femoral condyles?

it is where the femur and tibia articulate, and an indication of whether a specimen is a quadraped or biped, due to the amount of weight pressure being put on the knee joint

in humans (bipeds), they are relatively long and elliptical

in chimps (quadrapeds), they are short and rounded

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Does Australopithecus afarensis have elliptical or rounded femoral condyles?

Elliptical, which is evidence for their bipedalism.

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What does the anterior iliac spine affect?

the shape of the muscles going from the hip to the leg, which in turn affects locomotion

if it is absent, it is much harder to walk bipedally and it is therefore an indication of bidepal walking

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What is the Hardy-Weinberg equation (description and significance, not the literal letters and such)?

a way to estimate expected allele frequencies in a hypothetical population where no evolution was happening (impossible)

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What does the placement of the foramen magnum indicate?

bipedalism, balance

gets more central the further to Homo sapiens you get

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What does the orientation of the big toe indicate?

bipedal walking if it is in line with the other toes, as the motion will end with a push off from the big toe. if it is to the side, that indicates that the feet are used for some grasping and not necessarily bipedal walking

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What does an IMI (intermembral index) of over 100 indicate? Under 100? Equal?

  • over 100 - arms longer than legs (ape)

  • under 100 - legs longer than arms (human!)

  • equal - limbs are equal in length

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Out of the following options, who has the largest cranial capacity?

1) chimpanzee

2) Au. afarensis

3) H. habilis

4) P. Boisei

3) Homo habilis

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What traits can be used to distinguish Paranthropus specimens?

sagittal crests created by abnormally large chewing muscles needed to support their diet

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Do hominins have diastemas? What is a diastema an indicator of?

no, it indicates large canines found in other great apes, but were lost in hominins due to diet changes

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What are some traits that can be used to distinguish Australopithecus and other hominins from chimps?

  • centrally located foramen magnum

  • more vertical foreheads

  • lack of a diastema

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What is an indicator of smaller brain sizes: more or less post-orbital constriction?

more, it creates less room for the brain to be there

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What are traits specific to Strepsirhines?

  • moist nose and a greater emphasis on smell than other primates

  • tooth comb

  • nostrils that point down

  • no post orbital plate

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What are traits specific to primates/what are trends seen in primates?

  • 5 digits on the hands and feet

  • retention of the clavicle bone

  • postorbital bar or closure

  • nails, not claws

  • emphasis on vision (orbital frontality, color vision, depth perception) rather than smell (shorter snouts)

  • enlargement of the brain

  • grasping hands and feet with an opposable thumb and a big toe

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What are traits specific to Haplorhines compared to Strepsirrhines?

  • larger than strepsirrhines

  • greater orbital frontality

  • continuous upper lip

  • nostrils that point upwards, rather than downwards

  • shorter snouts

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What are traits specific to Tarsiers, 2 that are strepsirrhine-like and 2 that are haplorrhine-like?

Strepsirrhine-like: small body and a grooming claw (also an unfused mandible which can be used to distinguish tarsiers from anthropoidea)

Haplorhine-like: post-orbital plate and no tooth comb

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What are traits specific to Anthropoidea (monkeys and apes), compared to Strepsirrhines?

  • larger brain and body

  • greater orbital frontality

  • complete postorbital closure

  • fused mandible

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What are traits specific to Platyrrhines, compared to Catarrhines?



small bodied

slightly larger on average

sideways facing nostrils dental formula

ring like ear


downward facing nostrils dental formula

tubular ear

arboreal and terrestrial

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What are traits used to distinguish between Cercopithecoids and Hominoids?



lateral scapula (shoulder blade to the side of the rib cage)

dorsal scapula (shoulder blade to the back of the rib cage)

narrow, deep rib cage

clavicle oriented downward

bilophondont molars


broad, shallow rib cage

clavicle oriented backward

Y-5 molars

no tail

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What are the elements of primate social groups?

  • group size and composition

  • use of their environment

  • mating system

  • emigration pattern

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What kinds of social groups are there?

  • monogamous

  • one female, multi-male

  • multi-male, multil-female

  • fission-fusion

  • one male, multi-male and bachelor males

  • one female with offspring or without offspring

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What are the two types of sexual selection among primates?

  • intrasexual selection, male-male competition

  • intersexual selection, female choice is important

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What is the difference between relative and chronometric/absolute dating?

relative dating - comparative, often cannot scale the amount of time between the items being compared

chronometric/absolute dating - determination of an estimated age on an object on a specific time-scale, years before/after a known date (BC or AD)

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What is the principle of superposition?

lower things are older things

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What is cross-dating? Is it a relative or an chronometric dating method?

  • estimating the age of archaeological evidence based on their similarities with comparable materials that have already been dated

  • relative dating method

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What is faunal correlation? Is it a relative or chronometric dating method?

  • the use of animal remains found near an object used to estimate the time in which the object would have existed

  • relative, but requires that the faunal remains have been dated using chronometric methods

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What is potassium and argon dating? Is it a relative or chronometric dating method?

  • measuring the amount of potassium and argon isotopes left in an object (used to date materials in the 1-5 mya range, usually in East Africa because it is best on volcanic material)

  • absolute dating method

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What is radiocarbon dating? Is it a relative or chronometric dating method?

  • using the amount of carbon 14 to estimate the age of something because carbon isotopes decay over time (limited to use for the past 50k years, but the most commonly used absolute method)

  • absolute dating method

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What are the two archaeological methods of locating evidence? What is the method of studying that evidence?

  • surveying

  • excavation

  • lab analysis

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What are the subjects of anthropological archaeology? (We learned three but a general answer should be fine?)

  • societes

  • culture

  • people

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What is material culture?

the physical manifestation of human activities, such as, tools, art, and structures

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What are the types of material culture? (5)

  • fossils

  • artifacts

  • ecofacts

  • features (pits, wells, things that cannot be removed from the ground and show past human activity)

  • sites (locations of past human activity, like evidence of a hunting camp with a campfire)

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What is context, in terms of archaeology?

the spatial associations of material culture, what we already know or can infer that assists in understanding what we have found

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What is stratigraphy?

the study of sequential layering of deposits (layers underground)

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When do we start to see evidence of the earliest hominins? (mya or period)

  • 7 to 5 mya

  • late Miocene

  • common ancestor to chimps and hominins

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Are all hominins habitually bipedal?

yes, that is the trait which defines them

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What are some trends seen in hominins?

  • smaller canines

  • parabolic dental arcade (arched)

  • thick tooth enamel

  • reduced facial prognathism

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When did the East African Rift Valley form?

8 to 6 mya

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What was the habitat like in the East African Rift Valleys that differ from previous ape habitats?

drier, cooler, and more open

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What are traits used to distinguish apes from humans?

  • humans have longer legs than arms, while apes have longer arms than legs

  • humans have carved

  • humans have more centrally positioned foramen magnums, while apes have more posteriorly placed foramen magnums

  • humans have S-curve spines, while apes have little curve at all in their spines

  • humans lack a diastema and large canines, apes have both

  • humans have arched (parabolic) dental arcades, while apes have rectangular ones

  • humans have a more angled femur (the bone that articulates with the hip), while apes have a right-angled (90-degree) femur

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Who is Sahelanthropus tchadensis (significance, age, location found, main traits)?

  • the earliest hominin

  • about 7 to 6 mya

  • found in north-central Africa in Chad

  • very small brain relative to other hominins, massive brow ridge, vertical face, human-like dentition, foramen magnum still placed fairly anteriorly

  • most likely still arboreal, it is debated whether it was bipedal at all but the amount of derived traits shared with hominins has earned it its place as a hominins either way

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Who is Orrorin tugenensis (significance, age, location found, main traits)?

  • found in Western Kenya

  • dated about 6 mya

  • femur suggest bipedalism, still climbing adaptions in the upper limbs, incisors getting smaller (similar to Ardipithecus), canine and premolars still ape-like, their environment would have still been well wooded or forested

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Who is Ardipithecus kadabba (significance, age, location found, main traits)?

  • found in Ethiopia

  • dated to 5.8 to 5.2 mya

  • ape-like honing complex, foot suggests bipedalism, but still many ape-like traits

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Who is Ardipithecus ramidus (significance, age, location found, main traits)?

  • found in Ethiopia

  • 4.4 mya

  • environment still fairly wooded, diet would have been similar to arboreal monkeys

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What species under the genus Australopithecus did we learn in class? (in order of age, oldest to youngest)

  • Au. anamnesis (4.2 to 3.9 mya)

  • Au. afarensis (3.9 to 2.9 mya)

  • Au. africanus (3.5 to 2 mya)

  • Au. sediba (2 mya)

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