All posts tagged with Anthropology 105

The value of the pretest

1 minute read

Every semester for the past three years, I have begun my Anthropology 105 course with a “concept inventory” quiz, otherwise known as a pretest. My students a...

Primate mating patterns

8 minute read

Ecology, diet, competition, and ease of movement all affect the size of primate groups. The structure of primate groups is primarily affected by the mating s...

Laboratory inquiry 1: Outgroup

1 minute read

Your task in the first laboratory inquiry assignment is to develop a hypothesis about the anatomy of the common ancestor of two species of anthropoid primate...

Group life in primates

5 minute read

Primates form different kinds of groups. While there is variation within every species, each species has its own typical range of group sizes. Primate groups...

How do primates move around?

5 minute read

The diversification of the first primates from other early mammals took place partly because the ancestors of the primates came to inhabit a unique environme...

A quick start to the skeleton

4 minute read

In this course, you will be working extensively with skeletal anatomy. The skeleton provides the primary evidence about our evolutionary history. Skeletal ev...

A quick start on anatomical directions

3 minute read

When talking about bones and teeth, we will need to use several terms to orient ourselves. Some of the terms are obvious, like right and left. Other intuitiv...

Online education: beyond MOOCs

6 minute read

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about online and distance education lately. I’ll be writing about this topic recurrently during the next few weeks, so I wil...

Mandibles of Neandertals and modern humans

1 minute read

Many of the differences between Neandertals and modern humans can be found in the face and jaw. Neandertals had relatively tall faces, and substantial progna...

Genotyping the intro class

2 minute read

Holly Dunsworth, at the University of Rhode Island, is undertaking a unique project with her undergraduate course this semester, providing 23andMe genotyping...

Human and ape feet

1 minute read

At this station, you’ll find some articulated human feet. “Articulated” means that the bones are assembled together at their joints – two bones that articula...

Piltdown

1 minute read

Here you will find a cast of the Piltdown specimen. Both the skull and mandible were real bone; the problem is that the skull was human and the jaw orangutan...

Neandertal postcrania

less than 1 minute read

Neandertals were very robustly built. This means that they had relatively thick bones, with thick layers of cortical bone. It also means they had relatively ...

Neandertal cranial anatomy

1 minute read

The Neandertals were Late Pleistocene inhabitants of Europe, and their skeletal remains were among the first fossil humans that scientists recognized as repr...

Modern human crania

1 minute read

By the end of the Middle Pleistocene, people throughout the inhabited world had attained brain sizes in the range of living people. Technology had ad- vanced...

Measuring differences between populations

2 minute read

When individuals mate locally, different populations tend to diverge from each other in the frequencies of their alleles. Genetic differences between populat...

Measuring population subdivision

1 minute read

The basic measure of genetic difference between two populations is the statistic, FST. In genetics, the term F generally stands for ``inbreeding’’, which ten...

Cranial features and race

1 minute read

Individuals whose ancestry derives mostly from different parts of the world sometimes have different cranial features. Forensic anthropologists have studied ...

Why do people differ in skin color?

7 minute read

The color of human skin is determined by the amount of two pigments, eumelanin and pheomelanin. These pigments are the basic ones underlying all kinds of col...

Sex and the mandibles of early hominins

1 minute read

Determining sex from human mandibles (as you will do in another part of this lab) depends on a series of characteristics that tend to differ between male and...

Meet Homo heidelbergensis

1 minute read

The Mauer mandible comes from just southeast of Heidelberg, Germany, and was found in ancient sands deposited just more than 600,000 years ago. Upon its desc...

Mandibles and sex

less than 1 minute read

The mandible can provide important evidence in assessment of sex from skeletal remains. Male mandibles are generally heavier and larger than female mandibles...

Determining sex from the cranium

2 minute read

The cranium has a very distinctive shape, which varies between people to some extent. Some features that vary between individuals in their size or shape are...

The occipital bone

1 minute read

The cranium includes all the bones of the head. Altogether, there are 26 cranial bones plus the mandible. Except for the mandible, these bones mostly are fus...

The frontal bone

1 minute read

The cranium includes all the bones of the head. Altogether, there are 26 cranial bones plus the mandible. Except for the mandible, these bones mostly are fus...

African Homo erectus

less than 1 minute read

This station includes several casts of early fossil Homo erectus, from the Early Pleistocene of Africa. These include:

Meet Homo habilis

less than 1 minute read

This station has several of the key cranial specimens of Homo habilis, together with Sts 5, the representative of Australopithecus africanus. The H. habilis ...

Asian Homo erectus

less than 1 minute read

Homo erectus entered Asia as early as 1.8 million years ago. One of the earliest specimens of the species is the Modjokerto skull, from Java. The spread of t...

Structure of the pelvis

1 minute read

The pelvis is a complex made of three bones: the sacrum and the left and right os coxae, also called “innominate” bones. The sacrum forms the posterior part ...

Sexual dimorphism of the pelvis

1 minute read

The pelvis is the most accurate indicator of sex in the human skeleton. Its central role in the birth process means that the pelvis has several shape differe...

Meet Australopithecus africanus

less than 1 minute read

This station has several casts of remains attributed to the species, Australopithecus africanus. This was the first australopithecine species discovered, and...

Bipedality and the pelvis

1 minute read

Humans are bipeds. The pelvis in humans has undergone radical changes in orientation and shape compared to other anthropoid primates. Many of these changes s...

Tooth wear

1 minute read

Teeth have a close association with longevity. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body, but it does break, wear out, and is sometimes attacked by microbe...

Paleopathology

1 minute read

Often the skeleton bears signs of disease or injury that occurred during an individual’s lifetime. Not every disease affects bone, but some have highly recog...

Long bone development

1 minute read

The long bones grow in parts. Early in fetal development, the bones are formed from cartilage. Bone tissue forms as special cells (called osteoblasts) lay do...

Meet Aegyptopithecus

less than 1 minute read

At this station are casts of Aegyptopithecus zeuxis. This species comes from the Oligocene, approximately 30 million years ago. It is from the Fayum fossil b...

Incisors

less than 1 minute read

The incisors are the front teeth. They are basically flat and have a blade-like occlusal surface. Each quadrant has two incisors.

Deciduous teeth

1 minute read

Like most mammals, humans have two sets of teeth. The first set is called the deciduous dentition, but you probably know these as “baby teeth.”

Canines

less than 1 minute read

The canine teeth in humans range from pointy-shaped to incisor-like in shape. There is only one canine in each quadrant, and it is the third tooth just dista...

Wisdom teeth

1 minute read

Most humans have three molars, but many — especially in America — have their third molars (called wisdom teeth) extracted. Some people do not develop third m...

Premolars

1 minute read

The premolars are directly distal to (behind) the canines. Generally there are two premolars in each quadrant. Counting backward from the front of the jaw, t...

Premolars in primates

1 minute read

Different kinds of primates have different numbers of premolars in their dentitions. The ancestral number of premolars in primates is three in each quadrant ...

Molars

less than 1 minute read

The most distal teeth are molars. Most humans have three molars, but many — especially in America — have their third molars (called wisdom teeth) extracted. ...

Meet Australopithecus boisei

1 minute read

The robust australopithecines existed between 2.5 and 1.5 million years ago. At this station are skeletal remains from two kinds of robust australopithecine....

The temporal bone

1 minute read

The cranium includes all the bones of the head. Altogether, there are 26 cranial bones plus the mandible. Except for the mandible, these bones mostly are fus...

Size of the external auditory meatus

less than 1 minute read

This is a very simple lab station. The size of the opening for the ear canal, called the external auditory meatus, is larger in humans than in most other kin...

Earlobes

1 minute read

The form of the earlobes varies in humans. At one extreme, the lowest point on the earlobe is attached to the flesh of the cheek. If not, the earlobe is to v...

Meet Gorilla gorilla

1 minute read

The gorilla is the world’s largest living primate. Gorillas are presently distributed broadly across West and Central Africa, in forested areas where human a...

Radius and ulna

1 minute read

The radius and ulna are the two bones of the lower arm. Rotation of the wrist is actually accomplished by a rotation of the radius around the ulna. The radiu...

Humerus

1 minute read

The bone of the upper arm is called the humerus. It articulates with the scapula at the shoulder joint, and the radius and ulna at the elbow.

The different types of vertebrae

less than 1 minute read

The spine extends from the head to the sacrum, and in most people consists of 24 vertebrae. The vertebral column can be divided into three segments:

Primate vertebral numbers

less than 1 minute read

Between the skull and the sacrum, humans have 24 vertebrae. Well, most humans, anyway. Sometimes humans have a few more or less.

Statures of fossil Homo

1 minute read

Homo erectus and Neandertals were more or less human-sized. That may not be saying much, since we are so variable in stature ourselves.

The normal distribution and anthropometrics

5 minute read

Organisms within a population are variable; they are not all the same. When you measure a lot of organisms, you begin to notice that you can predict some thi...

Meet Daubentonia madagascarensis

less than 1 minute read

The aye-aye is possibly the world’s strangest primate. The species is native to Madagascar, and falls into the family of all primates from that island, the l...

Tibia and fibula

1 minute read

The tibia and fibula are the bones of the lower leg. The fibula forms the lateral part of the ankle joint, preventing dislocation in that direction.

Predicting stature from bone measurements

1 minute read

Anthropologists have collected data from many populations in the world, showing the relationship between the parts of the skeleton and body size and stature....

Eye pigmentation and allele frequencies

3 minute read

Eye pigmentation in humans varies along a spectrum of colors from dark brown, through lighter brown, hazel, and green, to light blue. These differences are c...

Laboratory: Feet

less than 1 minute read

The stations in this lab will introduce one of the best-known species of fossil hominins, evidence of bipedal locomotion early in our evolution, some basic a...

The Laetoli footprints

1 minute read

The most striking piece of evidence for bipedality in our earliest hominin relatives is a series of footprint trails at Laetoli, a fossil-bearing site in Tan...

Measuring stature and proportions

less than 1 minute read

At this station, you’ll be taking some measurements of your body. This is a graded exercise, but we expect that you’ll have no problem getting all the points...

Femur

1 minute read

The femur is the bone of the upper leg. The proximal end of the femur connects to the hip joint. It is marked by a spherical ball, called the femoral head, t...