Ask a Geologist: Human Evolution - Rutgers Geology Museum ... Mauricio Anton In what kinds of...

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Transcript of Ask a Geologist: Human Evolution - Rutgers Geology Museum ... Mauricio Anton In what kinds of...

  • Ask a Geologist: Human Evolution By: Dr. Rhonda Quinn

    Gary Larsen

  • About Me Rhonda Quinn, Ph.D.

    ● Associate Professor of Anthropology, Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ

    ● Research Affiliate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ

    ● I travel to other countries to study ancient humans and paleo-environments (Rift Valley of eastern Africa)

    Ask A Geologist Series

    My favorite fossil human is Paranthropus boisei, a grass-eater with large chewing muscles and molar teeth

    Smithsonian

  • Human Evolution How did we evolve?

    Ask A Geologist Series

    Mauricio Anton

    In what kinds of environments did humans evolve?

    What traits were successful in these ancient environments?

  • Ask A Geologist Series

    Chimps and humans have 98-99% DNA in common

    Smithsonian

  • What makes us human?

    Ask A Geologist Series

    Savanna chimp blogspot Georgia State University

  • Human fossil record

    Ask A Geologist Series

    Smithsonian

    Homo erectus

    Homo habilis

    Australopithecus afarensis

    Australopithecus africanus

    A fossil human (hominin) is

    identified as having:

    • Big brain

    • Small teeth

    • Bipedal gait

    • Tall stature

  • Our family tree is bushy!

    Ask A Geologist Series

    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Bipedal ~6 mya

    Small teeth~2.5 mya

    Big brain ~1 mya

    Tall~1.8 mya

    Traits evolve at different times…

  • Ask A Geologist Series

    Global environments have changed!

    Data from marine sediment

    and ice cores

    Smithsonian

    Global cooling: onset of ice ages

    Time (mya)

    18 O

    /16 O

    W ar

    m C

    ol d

  • Ask A Geologist Series

    Global environments have changed!

    Smithsonian

    Global cooling: onset of ice ages

    Fo re

    st s

    G ra

    ss la

    nd s

    Time (mya)

    18 O

    /16 O

    W ar

    m C

    ol d

  • Ask A Geologist Series

    Global environments have changed! Fo

    re st

    s G

    ra ss

    la nd

    s

  • Ancient human diets and habitats

    Geochemistry

    Analyze chemicals in teeth and paleosol minerals

    Ask A Geologist Series

    Paleosol = ancient soil

  • Ask A Geologist Series

    Mass Spectrometer

    Radausher (2015)

    Rutgers Earth and Planetary Sciences Geochemistry Laboratory

    Wynn (2000)

    12C

    13C

    More 13C Less13C

  • Ask A Geologist Series

    Mauricio Anton

    New ecological niches

    Paranthropus boisei

    Homo erectus Niche Separation

  • Understanding Human Adaptations

    How do humans respond to changing environments?

    Ask A Geologist Series

    Biologically

    Behaviorally

    Technologically

  • Future Directions: more DNA of fossils

    Ask A Geologist Series

  • Question Time!