Thursday, October 20, 2011

Indepth Chronicle Of The Environment Our Ancestors Knew 7 Million Years Ago

A group of researchers at the University of Utah found they could extrapolate the percentage of woody plant cover from carbon isotopes left in soils in African forests and grasslands when our ancestors were evolving from apes into hominids. They discovered that 7 million years ago the area was mainly grassland with only sparse trees. The tree cover increased to peak around 40-60% woody cover by 3.6 million years ago & then declined, opening up the environments. This research suggests that early hominins adapted to sparser tree cover, becoming bipedal as a more efficient method of travel in more open landscape & developing larger teeth & jaws to cope with a more fibrous diet than fruit. As the trees declined our ancestors became taller & developed the ability to run. Their teeth & jaws became smaller as they adapted to being hunter-gatherers, the new high protein diet also allowing their brains to grow in size.
Posted by Astrojenny

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