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Chimpanzees: Human Evolutionary Studies

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Why do you think chimpanzees are frequently held up as a good model for understanding human evolution? What morphological and behavioral similarities might they have with early hominids?

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The human-chimp split occurred about 6 million years ago, however, chimpanzees are frequently held up as a good model for understanding human evolution, because chimpanzees are humans' closest genetic relatives. More than 98 percent of our DNA matches up to that of apes, which makes them genetically closer to us than gorillas. Recently revealed aspects of predation by chimpanzees, such as its frequency and the use of meat as a political and reproductive tool, have important implications for research on the origins of human behavior.

Chimpanzees using bark and stick tools to exploit an underground food resource are giving ...

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Why do you think chimpanzees are frequently held up as a good model for understanding human evolution? What morphological and behavioral similarities might they have with early hominids?

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Identify trends in human biological or cultural evolution.

(See attached file for full problem description, including diagrams.)

Interpret scientific evidence for human evolution. Identify trends in human biological or cultural evolution.

Question 1.

The diagram below shows a hominid family tree based on DNA similarities. Use this diagram to answer question a.
a) Name the hominid group that is most closely related to humans.
b) Describe how DNA evidence is used to determine evolutionary relationships. (Write at least 4 lines).
c) What does this diagram suggest about the evolutionary relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals? (Write at least 4 lines). The following diagram shows the genetic relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals, based on this DNA analysis.

Question 2.

Study the hominid skulls shown below.
a) Describe two changes to the skull that have occurred in the evolution of modern humans. (Write at least two lines each).
b) For each change, suggest one reason why it has occurred. (Write at least three lines each).
c) Discuss the importance of diet in the evolution of the brain. (Write at least six lines).

Question 3.

In the table below, List A identifies six hominid species while List B contains six statements relating to those species.

List A
1. Australopithecus afarensis
2. Australopithecus africanus
3. Paranthropus robustus
4. Homo habilis
5. Homo erectus
6. Homo neanderthalensis
List B
A. This species had a brain size of about 450 cc, with massive molars and a large jaw.
B. This species almost certainly used fire and was the first to migrate out of Africa.
C. The first fossilized footprints to show evidence of bipedalism were made by this species.
D. This species was extremely intelligent and able to adapt to living in a wide range of climates.
E. A lightly built scavenger living in open woodland and Savannah of Southern African around 3-2mya.
F. Nicknamed "Handy Man". this is the oldest species known to use stone tools.

In the appropriate space below write the letter of the statement from List B that matches the species in List A.

Question 4.

The diagram below shows a commonly accepted model for human evolution. After studying the diagram answer the questions.
a) Complete the following table with the appropriate letter from the time chat diagram.

Name of hominid Letter from diagram
Homo sapiens
Paranthropus robustus
Homo neanderthalensis
Australopithecus africanus
Homo habilis
Australopithecus anamensis
Homo heidelbergensis
Australopithecus boisei

b) For any two of the hominid species listen below, give one significant cultural or biological development that occurred during that species' time span and describe the evolutionary significance the development gave to that species. (Write at least five lines each).

i. Australopithecus anamensis
ii. Homo habilis
iii. Homo erectus
iv. Homo neanderthalensis

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