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 Post subject: Paleoanthropology Quiz (QM)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:06 am 
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PL :clap: Nice to see you're around again! Wouldn't want to see you going extinct on this forum. :naughty: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:24 am 
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Okay, let's try and revivify this quiz:

When I read about this, I was shocked: will corrupt humans never cease to do ANYTHING to earn a quick buck??

1) What is Fossil Theft?
2) Give an example of what South Africa done to help prevent fossil theft?

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:39 am 
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Good Q OWN :thumbs_up:

Fossil theft is where a person/s steal fossils to sell to collectors. Fossils have become a big ticket item because of the growing interest in paleontology. There have been some massive fossil thefts from Australia, USA and China over the years ending up in some private collectors possession. I think a fossil was stolen from Kirstenbosch not too long ago! I know there was a huge fossil stolen from Oz that ended up in Japan :big_eyes: :evil:

South Africa has some of the strictest laws against fossil theft - in place for quite a while now.

From my readings on this in most cases the rewards far outweigh the punishments which is one of the reasons that this has become such a lucrative "business".

Incidentally, one can buy fossils legitimately - there are a couple of places in Perth that deal in semi-precious stones, shells and fossils. I had a discussion about this with one of the market owners here a couple of years ago (before he sold his stall to a "new age" person who relabelled everything so it was about the "healing" powers rather than the actual stones / fossils / shells - but that's another story) and out of everything in the stall, the fossils were the items most likely to be nicked - and had to be kept in lock up cabinets!

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:17 am 
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Absolutely spot on, TP! :clap: :clap: :clap: South Africa does have strict laws on fossil purchases, and does not allow exports. Pity they don;t have stricter laws on some other things.

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:18 am 
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I'm sure most people are aware of the significance of the discoveries at Taung, Sterkfontein and other caves in what is part of the Cradle of Humankind. For those that don't very early hominids were discovered - the Australopithecines.

What are the two genus that make up the Australopithecines, give a couple of examples of the families within the genus and tell us whether these extinct creatures are part of the direct link to us as humans?

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:59 am 
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Great Q, TP :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:24 pm 
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Genus of extinct hominins that may be ancestral to human beings (Homo sapiens). The name Australopithecus refers to the first fossils, which were discovered in South Africa.


The term australopithecine refers to two very closely related genera within the Hominina subtribe of the Hominini tribe. They appeared in the Pliocene:

* Australopithecus, appeared about 4 million years ago;
* Paranthropus, appeared about 2.7 million years ago.

When used alone, the term refers to both genera together. Australopithecus is sometimes referred to as the "gracile (slender) australopithecines", while Paranthropus are also called the "robust australopithecines".


------

A likely ancestor of the Australopithecines is the Ardipithecus genus (lived 4.4 million years ago). The Homo genus (humans, appear about 2.4 million years ago with Homo habilis) appear to be descended from Australopithecine ancestors, more precisely from Kenyanthropus platyops branching off Australopithecus some 3.5 million years ago. An alternative possibility is the derivation of Homo directly from Ardipithecus with an as yet undiscovered link connecting Ardipithecus and Homo habilis existing in parallel to the Australopithecines in the period 4 to 2.5 million years ago.

There is no consensus among the experts concerning the evolutionary relationship among the various australopithecines, or between the australopithecines and Homo habilis, which is considered by many to be the earliest species of the genus Homo.

One proposal is that A. afarensis gave rise to two distinct lineages c.3 million years ago: One branch became the robust australopithecines (doomed to extinction), while the other branch became the gracile species (one species of which eventually evolved into H. habilis).

Many researchers believe that the species that evolved into H. habilis was A. africanus. Other experts reject this model, as well as the claim that A. africanus played any such key role. Increasingly, specialists favor assigning the robust australopithecines to a completely seperate genus, Paranthropus, because of the very significant physical differences between the robust and gracile species. According to this view, A. afarensis was the last common ancestor of these two distinct types of hominids.

Various sources, including Wiki, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:07 am 
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Does not look like anyone else is going to have a whirl :(

Pretty much spot on LZ. I'm more inclined to think that there is not a direct link between the Australopithecines and the genus Homo. This has been debated for many years but there is still no conclusive proof.

Given the way that the world works IMHO I believe that they were a parallel line to Homo (natures way of seeing who would survive :wink: - sort of like the parallel line of Neanderthal) - there is a huge overlap in timelines! I think there is still a link to be found that will take the divergence further back than the Australopithecines.

Dart (for an Aussie :twisted: ) did some fantastic work at Taung and then Sterkfontein. It was his work that led me into a 6 month long study of physical Anthropology which I try and still keep up to date with today.

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:02 am 
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Great stuff indeed, TP, especially as it is so applicable to us!

I would love us to expand the theme of extinct homosapien predecessors, and for you to share with us! Would you care to post another Q?

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:06 am 
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:thumbs_up: No problem - give me a wee while otherwise my boss is likely to smack my earhole :doh: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:25 am 
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Gosh, your boss has a small hand ... to actually aim for the hole! :lol:
But, of course, any time! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:34 am 
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:lol: He ducked out to a meeting so I've putting something together quickly :whistle:

As OWN has suggested, I'm happy to carry on this theme for a bit. This is one topic that will require a bit of research and as long as the responses are not just a cut and paste I won’t really worry about where they came from :D

I'm sure everyone has heard of the evolutionary tree, which is an excellent way of describing how this works. A main trunk, branching then branching again and so on.

I started at a potential branching of the hominids (about 4.5m years ago) and am now going to leap forward and lets start with us and work our way backwards :hmz:

When we talk about modern humans we are discussing Homo Sapiens Sapiens or anatomically modern humans. In other words the first of branch of the hominids to exhibit anatomical characteristics that you would recognise today.

In Europe this was designated as Cro-magnon (which I'm sure most of you have heard of) from the first site in France where these fossils were found. (Incidentally, if any of you have read Jean Auel's books, this is the area where her later books are set.).

The questions then are:
What are these anatomical characteristics that developed in this branch of the tree?
When did they first appear in their "complete" form? (I'm trying to establish a timeline here :huh: ).
What differences would you note from a Cro-magnon skeleton and one that you would see hanging in a schoolroom today?

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Last edited by Timepilot on Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:41 am 
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Magnificent Q, TP! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Perhaps just summarise all the sub-questions you're asking , so we know exactly what to answer. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:00 am 
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Your wish is my command O Master :lol: :wink: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Extinct Creatures/Plants Quiz (OQ)
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:27 pm 
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Hi TP, believe it or not, I studied Dart and how he darted (pun intended) between Oz and SA when I researched your question. The fact that I quoted I am not going defend now or ever again - it is not my IP to regurgitate as if it is my own. In fact, I once again stress the importance of ownership of intellectual property.

However, let me get on with it... Dart is best known for his discovery in 1924 of a fossil (first ever found) of Australopithecus africanus (extinct hominid closely related to humans) at Taung in Northwestern South Africa. Since then, like you rightly stated, there has been vindicaton and disagreement of his theory.

As a Christian, I believe in God's creation, including sinful humans. :thumbs_up:

----

The majority of anatomical, archaeological and genetic evidence gives credence to the view that fully modern humans are a relatively recent evolutionary phenomenon.

The current best explanation for the beginning of modern humans is the Out of Africa Model that postulates a single, African origin for Homo sapiens. The major neurological and cultural innovations that characterized the appearance of fully modern humans has proven to be remarkably successful, culminating in our dominance of the planet at the expense of all earlier hominid populations.

However, if I interpret your Q's correctly, the following anatomical characteristics have developed, although, as you stated, TP, there is a time lag between the appearance of anatomical modernity and perceived behavioral modernity:

* Neural basis of vocalisation/suggestions - Linguistic superfamilies show remarkable correspondence with the two major clusters, indicating considerable parallelism between genetic and linguistic evolution. The latest step in language development may have been an important factor determining the rapid expansion that followed the appearance of modern humans and the demise of Neanderthals.

* Attention span

* Genetics

* Mitochondrial DNA

* Facial attractiveness iro skin texture and colour

* Sexual selection

* Tool use

* Shorter arms, longer legs

* Less hair

* Problem solving skills

* Y chromosome sequence variance

* Brain size (ASPM)

* Smaller skull size

* Imitative learning

* Insertion of Alu element on the Y chromosome

* Human pheremones

* Femur, tibia, pelvic and pelvis differences

* and in fact, the list goes on and on and on...


Various sources

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