Comparative Anatomy Assignment

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1.Comparative Anatomy Assignment
(Homo erectus Comparative Anatomy Assignment
Continuing our trend of cranial comparisons, I would like you to pick two H. erectus skulls from two different regions of the world and compare and contrast the primary features of each – one from Africa vs. one from Asia (do not write about two from Asia, two from Africa, or one from Africa and one from Europe; one from Europe and one from Asia is fine though. PLEASE exclude Dmanisi – some call it a European skull, others Asia – just DO NOT do it!). Traits you should consider, at the very least: shape/size of the supraorbital torus, post orbital constriction, projection of the lower face, height of the forehead, shape of the back of the skull, shape of the zygomatic arch, and size of the teeth – you will be doing something similar to the table you completed last chapter but in paragraph form. Depending on the specimens you select, there may be other traits too. Type in your answers into the Assignment submission box. At this point I expect you to use the proper terminology for the traits you observe. Call the teeth by their proper term – incisor, canine (no fangs!), premolar, molar, for instance. You must also be sure to tell me which specific specimens you are discussing. For example, on page 332 the skull identified in Figure 11.4 (a) is OH 24 while (c) is KNM-ER 1813.)

Requirements: As per my chapter directions compare and contrast two Homo erectus craniums. Please be sure to tell me exactly which specimens you are comparing (the specific specimen #). Without this information YOU WILL NOT receive full credit. I cannot assess your results without know the specimens as there is some variation between specimens. I want you to use complete sentences, good sentence structure, in a paragraph or two! Plus, give me detail.

An “A” level submission will be at least 275-300 words in length.

2.Name that Fossil Assignment
(This chapter we are going to build upon your work in the two previous chapters and send you out into the field to do some paleoanthropology. So

You are a student interested in the subject of human evolution and are currently enrolled in the Anthropology Department of Lotsaluck University. You purposely chose that university because Dr. I. Jones, a specialist in early hominins, is a professor there. He has a reputation for being lucky finding fossil material as well as for taking his best students with him during the excavation season. While you are working, you come across a hominin skull.

Instead of just relying on what you see, as we have been doing for the past couple of chapter assignments, you are going to employ methods used by physical anthropologists when trying to figure out the taxanomic category of a cranium. You will be calculating three ratios that measure changing cranial proportions from our earliest human ancestors to modern day. To keep things interesting you will have several known hominids and three mystery or new hominids. You will want to calculate the ratios for the know varieties first, then the mystery/new ones. If you do things correctly, your mystery/new ones will closely resemble a known type, enabling to say your mystery/new skull is a particular type of hominin. You will then justify your identification with some of the same observations you have been completing for our other hominins. You will be turning in a chart of your ratios and a lab report. See the Name that Fossil link in the chapter table of contents for the full directions.)

Requirements: Using the directions posted after the chapter introduction complete the Name that Fossil assignment.

You will be turning in the contents of Chart 1 – your measurements for each skull (ALL of the known types, Mystery skulls # 1 and 2, and the New skull) and your Lab Report for the two mystery skulls and one newly found skull assigned to your last name.

You can submit the Chart 1 data in a chart, as a list of ratios by the type of hominin or some other creative presentation – I really ONLY care that you provide the data!

On your lab report please be sure to discuss your index ratios and what they mean in regards to cranial morphology AND identify 3 or more physical characteristics that support your numerical identification in categorizing your new or mystery skull as a particular hominid; this information is mandatory and why the face of each skull is included with the profile. I give an example for how to discuss a ratio and how to discuss a trait in the directions – the examples are highlighted in yellow.

If you DO NOT include at least 3 characteristics and a discussion of the ratios, your lab report will not be considered complete and you will be marked down. Examples of supporting traits could include: discussion of flaring cheek bones, large molars, a sagital crest, etc. Do keep in mind that some of the skulls would be much larger than others – the skulls are NOT to scale. They have all been reproduced at about the same size for purposes of this assignment, which I know is misleading. So, if you say a specimen has “flaring zygomatic arches (cheek bones)” please be sure to say in comparison to (insert which ever type or types of human fossil you are comparing the cheek bones to. Also, please be sure to use the cranial traits (sagital crest, zygomatic arches, supraorbital torus, etc.) discussed in our text. I want to see you use class vocabulary.

Please use complete sentences, good spelling, etc. Give me detail and be thorough!

This assignment is NOT hard, but it is fiddly – you need to take your time drawing and measuring the lines.

Approximate point breakdown (I have given slightly more or less depending upon whether or not the assignment is complete):

10 points for chart
25 points for report (about 8 points per mystery/new skull)


TextBook: Larsen, Clark Spencer (2014) Our Origins: Discovering Physical An- thropology. 3th Edition. W. W. Norton & Company, New York