Overview Module 2 hominin origins in southern Africa Laetoli footprints (not in text), 3.6 mya “Lucy” skeleton (not in text), 3.2 mya the line between art and non-art Makapansgat cobble (1-2), 3 mya incised ochre from Blombos cave (not in text), c. 77,000 BCE plastered human skull, Jericho (1-14), c. 7000 BCE plastered human skull, Beisamun (not in text), c. 4000 BCE
Our picture of humanity’sroots is constantly There is an active community of researchchanging. around the question of our earliest human ancestors. Who were they? Where did they live? What is unique about their anatomy and physiology? What behaviors did they engage in? How do we draw the line between human and non-human?
These all seem like simple enoughquestions, but the answers keepchanging fairly dramatically as we findnew evidence from month to month.
The past isn’t static, butdynamic.Therefore, please be aware as you work through this module that some of the specific information you are reading here may change. The point of the module is not to memorize specific facts of human prehistory, but to become aware of how ongoing discovery keeps revising our sense of the past, and to begin interpreting the significance of what we know at this point.
The Laetoli footprints, 3.6million years agoThese are not the onlyhominin footprints thathave been found inAfrica, but they remainthe most famousphysical evidence thatour hominin ancestors(in this case,Australopithecusafarensis) walkedupright. Thisevolutionary changecame before largercranial size, accordingto current state ofresearch. Cast of the Laetoli footprints displayed in Tanzania
http://leakeyfoundation.org/about-us/leakey-family/mary-leakey/PROFILE OF MARY LEAKEY
plastered skullsc. 7000 BCE, Jericho c. 4000 BCE, Beisamun
TERMS hominin: this has a more technical definition, but for our purposes, think of it as an early human or proto-human. manuport: something you pick up and carry around. ochre: reddish pigment used for body decoration and cave painting