Chapter 11 anthro sample questions

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This early researcher’s scientific approach to the origin of humans, searching for fossils to test his hypothesis rather than comparative animal anatomy, helped create the discipline of paleoanthropology:


Homo habilis differs from earlier australopithecines because it:

had a larger brain

The first hominin species to disperse from Africa, where it originated, was:

H. erectus

H. erectus’s change in limb proportions, to a body with short arms and long legs, indicates:

fully modern bipedal locomotion

Fossils of H. erectus have been found at which of these sites in Ethiopia?

All are correct (Bodo, Buia, Bouri)

The rapid spread of H. erectus out of Africa can be attributed in part to:

material culture and tool use

Evidence of fire use at Wonderwerk Cave included:

All of these are correct (Burned plants, archeulian tools, burned animal bones)

The main reason that H. erectus increased in stature and body size over H. habilis is:

access to animal protein

Evidence of tool use in H. habilis includes:

All of these are correct. (muscle markers on hand bones, stone tools present in fossil sites, expanding brain size)

It is possible that australopithecines went extinct and Homo flourished because of:

habitat changes.

A H. erectus specimen from Turkey dating to about 500,000 yBP demonstrates the antiquity of _______________, a disease still prevalent today.


__________ H. erectus were more robust than ___________ H. erectus.

African; Asian

H. erectus’s brain increased about ________ compared to H. habilis’s.


If a fully clothed Nariokotome boy were walking down the streets of New York City, which feature would indicate that he was NOT a modern human?

None of these is correct. (his large teeth, his height, the way he walked) (Homo erectus in Africa (1.8 – .3mya). The Nariokotome boy was already about 5’6" when he died as an adolescent; his teeth were large but not outside the normal range of modern humans’ teeth; and he had fully modern bipedalism. Therefore, none of these three features would give away that Nariokotome was a member of the Homo erectus species rather than of Homo sapiens.)

H. erectus was originally known as:

All of these are correct. (Java Man, peking man, pithecanthropus erectus)

Your roommate, a staunch vegetarian, argues that eating meat is unhealthy. You counter this argument by noting that the latest research in paleoanthropology suggests that:

we might not be the tall, big-brained humans we are today had our hominin ancestors not eaten meat. (Evolution of H. erectus – Biological change, adaptation, and improved nutrition. Although meat-eating predated Homo erectus, it is thought that the greater access that H. erectus had to animal protein – owing to better tools for killing and skinning animals and to harnessing fire to cook meat – contributed to H. erectus’s advantage in height and brain size over its H. habilis forebears.)

You come across a website that states Homo rudolfensis was a slightly larger version of Homo habilis found in Canada in the eighteenth century. Based on your knowledge of physical anthropology, though, you know that this website is bunk because:

All of these are correct. (Homo rudolfensis and homo habilis are the same species, only Homo sapiens reached North America, fossil hominins were not found until the nineteenth century) (The path to humanness – The first species of the genus Homo. You know that H. rudolfensis is actually a more robust version of the already known H. habilis, and you know that neither H. habilis nor H. erectus made it to North America. The history of hominin fossil finds summarized at the beginning of the chapter further indicates that paleoanthropology did not start until the end of the nineteenth century, with most finds happening in the twentieth century.)

Paleoanthropologists have found stone tool marks on Homo erectus bones, and this bit of information has been spun on TV as "cannibal hominins." A valid criticism of this sensationalistic conclusion is that:

the tool marks only indicate that flesh was removed, not whether it was consumed. (Homo erectus in Africa (1.8 – .3mya). The tool marks found on Homo erectus bones, such as the Bodo cranium, show that flesh was cut off of bone. However, the marks cannot tell us for what purpose the flesh was removedperhaps for eating (cannibalism), perhaps for a burial ritual, perhaps for another reason. Predator teeth can make similar marks as stone tools, but under a microscope it is easy to tell them apart based on the morphology of the grooves, and Au. anamensis did not overlap in time with H. erectus.)

If you wanted to know what the landscape was like when Homo erectus walked Earth a million years ago, you might try to find evidence by studying:

All of these are correct. (the fossilized bones of contemporaneous local animals, microorganisms from the ocean floor, and the plants available for Homo erectus to consume) (Homo erectus in Africa. All of these are valid methods for attempting to understand landscape and climate in the past. Fossilized animal bones can imply a landscape; for example, the presence of giraffe ancestors suggests large acacia trees. We also learned in previous chapters that oxygen isotope analysis of microorganisms can yield key information about temperature, and that the relative percentage of C3 versus C4 plants can change with climate.)

Paleoanthropologists know that Acheulian hand axes were used to butcher animals because:

the wear patterns on ancient tools are similar to those that can be replicated experimentally. (Evolution of Homo erectus – Biological change, adaptation, and improved nutrition. In modern experiments, paleoanthropologists have re-created stone tools and used them to butcher an animal. When they examined these tools under a microscope, the wear pattern resulting from butchering is identical to the wear pattern seen on the Acheulian hand axes, implying that Homo erectus butchered animals.)

An evolutionary argument for why women today need assistance in giving birth may be that:

the large brains of Homo sapiens infants necessitate a different pattern of childbirth events than seen in earlier hominins and primates. (Giving birth to big-brained babies. Human females are specifically adapted to be bipedal and to give birth to large-brained babies. However, their childbirth pattern is different than that of earlier hominins and primates. A human baby has to rotate and maneuver through the pelvic canal, and this results in a protracted, painful labor. Women are therefore usually assisted in birth by a physician, nurse, midwife, or other care provider.)

During excavations at this site in China, researchers found the fossil remains of over 40 hominins.


These stone tools made by H. erectus belong to the ___________ tool complex.


This skull shows some of the characteristics of H. erectus, including a long cranium, low forehead, large brow ridges, and:

a sagittal keel.

An animal bone such as this one may provide evidence that Homo erectus scavenged for meat if:

puncture holes from carnivore teeth are found beneath cuts made by manufactured tools (Biological change, adaptation, and improved nutrition. There is some evidence that H. erectus scavenged for meat, at least part of the time, based on finds such as this bone, in which cut marks from hominin tools are found on top of previous marks made by animal teeth.)

During a lab session in your physical anthropology class, you are asked to look at this tooth under magnification and state the importance of its morphology. A valid answer would be:

the ridges on the enamel can be used to figure out how quickly the tooth formed. (The Nariokotome Homo erectus boy of Kenya – How fast was his growth? The horizontal ridges on the tooth’s enamel are called perikymata, growth increments that represent a bit over a week’s worth of tooth formation, in a way similar to how tree rings represent growth. Counting the perikymata can tell you how quickly this tooth formed, which is an important question when studying our hominin ancestors.)

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