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Anthropology Fossil Determination, Explanation, and Analysis


Fossil 1 displays characteristics of Australopithecus aethiopicus of West Lake Turkana, Kenya. This skull shows the obvious characteristics of a very sharp sagittal crest along the top of the skull, a very wide skull in the cheek area, and an extremely prognathic lower skull and jaw area. The cranial capacity also appears to be smaller, suggesting that it is of the earlier hominids.

Fossil 2 shows eyebrow ridges and a slight sagittal crest consistent with Homo erectus. The most defining characteristic, however, is the presence of nuchal torus, a projection of bone at the back of the skull where muscles are attached to hold the head up, suggesting a consistently bipedal creature.

Fossil 3 is a small skull showing no sagittal crest or nuchal torus. There are eyebrow ridges apparent and the face is slightly prognathic. The skull most closely resembles the skull like that of the Taung child (Jurmain 203). The skull of the Taung child, a variety known as the “gracile” australopithecine, or A. africanus, exhibits smaller brain capacity, accounting for the smaller skull.

The fourth fossil has a small skull be conveys the characteristics of Homo sapien, therefore may be a child. At the top of the skull, the bone has not fully come together, consistent with children, and very young Homo sapien. The teeth are very small but are shovel-shaped like modern Homo’s teeth, adapted to tear and chew softer foods than those eaten by earlier Homo and other hominids. The skull shows little to no prognathism consistent with humans.

Fossil 1 at this station showed postorbital constriction, excess bone behind the eyebrows protecting the eyes. The skull showed slight prognathism, which is the protrusion of the jaw and lower skull. I predicted that the skull was Homo erectus; however, I noted that the African form, Homo ergaster, characteristically shows postorbital constriction whereas Homo erectus does not.

Fossil 2 showed less prognathism, a skull more closely resembling modern Homo. However, the brow ridges present were more pronounced that in modern Homo. The small shovel-shaped teeth also are representative of an early Homo sapien because they ate more cooked vegetation and meat, their teeth were used less for the grinding of hard, brittle vegetation. The fossil most closely displays the characteristics of Cro-Magnon, or Homo sapiens sapiens (Jurmain 281).

The first mandible is very robust and shows extreme molarization,...

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Category:   Anthropology

Length:   2 pages (518 words)

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