Study Guide for Quiz 4: Leakey, Prologue and Chapters 1-9



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Study Guide for Quiz 4: Leakey, Prologue and Chapters 1-9
Chapter 1. Like Johanson, Leakey begins his first chapter by giving the reader a "feel" for the material. There's a little vignette about the Turkana boy's world, some general background, and so on. Follow the general picture. What's at Lothagam? Who's Kimoya Kimeu? What's the Hominid Gang?
Chapter 2. Leakey continues in the same vein: a little about the history of Lake Turkana, how people look for fossils, how old the earth is, how they found the Turkana skeleton. At the end of the chapter is a glimpse of what the environment would have looked like a million years ago; this is helpful for getting a sense of East African ecology.
Chapter 3. How can one tell the age of a person from the teeth, and how old was the Turkana boy? How did Dubois' theoretical preconceptions lead him first to an incredibly lucky find, and later to a bizarre misinterpretation of it? What trends do Javanese and Chinese erectus show in the teeth and face? What was 1808, and what is significant about how she died?
Notice that Leakey is beginning to develop an explanatory theme that runs through the rest of the book: that (1) the first hominids were bipedalists whose special mode of locomotion was an adaptation to a "mosaic" open/forest habitat, but whose mental and social traits were still apelike; and that (2) with the development of Homo erectus comes the constellation of other traits, such as intelligence, home base and prolonged childhood, that we associate with human beings.
Chapter 4. What are the "myths" of human evolution? What is the "package" idea that Leakey criticizes? (Ponder: Could he be talking about people like Lovejoy?) Who were Sarich and Wilson, and what was their unwelcome message? Why did anthropologists once think Ramapithecus was a hominid, and why did they change their views?
Chapter 5. If toolmaking was not the most fundamental step in the evolution of hominids, what was? How did climate and geological activity contribute to the initial appearance of hominids? Leakey suggests that Lovejoy and Johanson's view of hominid origins has "the makings of a powerful myth." What is mythic about this view, and what scientific problems does Leakey identify? What is Rodman and McHenry's criticism of the Lovejoy theory?
Chapter 6. What's OH 62, and why are Leakey and Walker gloating over, of all things, Johanson's find? (More on this toward the end of the chapter.) How is between-sex difference in body size (sexual dimorphism) related to social behavior? What is humerofemural index, and what is so surprising about OH 62's? Leakey and Walker believe that three, not two, hominids existed at two million years ago. What were they?
Chapter 7. What is the Black Skull–where does it come from, what is its official designation, what are its physical traits, how old is it, and to what species is it assigned? How does the Black Skull contradict most preexisting phylogenetic trees?
Chapter 8. These next four chapters form the core of Leakey's argument that humanity begins with Homo erectus. Leakey demonstrates that in a great many ways, there is a major break between erectus and the australopithecines, with early Homo as a transitional phase.
What does Leakey propose as the social pattern for australopithecines, in place of Lovejoy's monogamous mates and cooperative males? What physical evidence supports his conjecture? How, in Leakey's speculation, did Homo social life differ from that of the australopithecines? How does Leakey define "life history" analysis? How is the human "trajectory of development" different from that of apes? How and why does Holly Smith think that different hominid types had different developmental patterns (more about this on page 157)?
Chapter 9. How do CAT scans and the perikymata of Taung's teeth help debunk the hominid package? What is the difference between human and ape patterns of brain growth from birth to adulthood, and how does this difference influence human social arrangements? How much did erectus resemble us in brain growth? What might account for a "pulse of extinction and speciation" among East African mammals at 2.6 million years ago? How might meat eating have allowed the human brain to enlarge?


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