early hominids

Mary Leakey (1913-1996) was a paleoanthropologist who made several important discoveries related to the evolution of humanity. In 1948 she discovered the first ever fossilised Proconsul skull, an extinct ape and an early ancestor of humans.

Even though she showed a great interest in archaeology from an early age and wanted to apply to Oxford, she was discouraged to do so, and was turned away from several excavation sites until finally being allowed to work. Throughout her career she discovered fossils and stone tools belonging to different species of early hominids, some of them more than 3.75 million years old. She discovered fifteen new species and one new genus of animal.

Years Ago
Anatomically modern humans evolve. Seventy thousand years later, their descendents create cave paintings — early expressions of consciousness.

4 million In Africa, an early hominid, affectionately named “Lucy” by scientists, lives. The ice ages begin, and many large mammals go extinct.

65 million A massive asteroid hits the Yucatan Peninsula, and ammonites and non-avian dinosaurs go extinct. Birds and mammals are among the survivors.

130 million As the continents drift toward their present positions, the earliest flowers evolve, and dinosaurs dominate the landscape. In the sea, bony fish diversify.

225 million Dinosaurs and mammals evolve. Pangea has begun to break apart.

248 million Over 90% of marine life and 70% of terrestrial life go extinct during the Earth’s largest mass extinction. Ammonites are among the survivors.

250 million The supercontinent called Pangea forms. Conifer-like forests, reptiles, and synapsids (the ancestors of mammals) are common.

360 million Four-limbed vertebrates move onto the land as seed plants and large forests appear. The Earth’s oceans support vast reef systems.

420 million Land plants evolve, drastically changing Earth’s landscape and creating new habitats.

450 million Arthropods move onto the land. Their descendants evolve into scorpions, spiders, mites, and millipedes.

500 million Fish-like vertebrates evolve. Invertebrates, such as trilobites, crinoids, brachiopids, and cephalopods, are common in the oceans.

555 million Multi-cellular marine organisms are common. The diverse assortment of life includes bizarre-looking animals like Wiwaxia.

3.5 billion Unicellular life evolves. Photosynthetic bacteria begin to release oxygen into the atmosphere.

3.8 billion Replicating molecules (the precursors of DNA) form.

4.6 billion The Earth forms and is bombarded by meteorites and comets.

Credit: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/


It wasn’t long ago that our Earth was thought to be only a few thousand years old and having been created in a matter of days. However during the scientific revolution that was taking place in the 18th and 19th centuries, minds like Darwin, Hutton and Lyell were challenging these age old theories. It was Charles Lyell that pioneered the theory that the forces of physics have remained the same throughout history, James Hutton also expressed that we can interpret the ancient past by studying modern day natural processes because the past and present are governed by the same laws. His findings reported that layers of sediment accumulated at around 2cm per year, he deduced that since mountains are sedimentary formations and thousands of metres high that the planet is more than a few thousand years old, but hundreds of millions. 

Our Earth is actually 4600 million years old, this staggeringly long time is almost impossible for the human mind to comprehend. As far as we know, life emerged as single celled organisms around 3800 million years ago, for the next 3 billion years it would remain as these minute unicellular organisms. This is the Precambrian, 4600 - 570 million years ago. 

To help us grasp the immense history of the Earth, a geological timescale was developed with each period marking a milestone in evolution and life.

CAMBRIAN 540 - 488 million years ago
Named after Cambria, an ancient name for Wales where rocks of this age are greatly exposed.
The Cambrian period sees explosive development of multicellular life with all the main modern phyla being established. Complex eyes and food chains evolve as well as active predation. Life is confined to the sea.

See Hallucigenia Opabinia Anomalocaris  

ORDOVICIAN 488 - 440 million years ago
Named for an ancient welsh tribe, the ordovices who lived in areas where rocks of this age are well exposed. Th oceans flourish with huge diversity of jawless fish, trilobites and gastropods and arthropods begin to dominate. The period ends with arthropods taking the first steps onto land. The end of the ordovician is marked by the first of the five major mass extinctions to hit the planet.

See Pterygotus Cameroceras 

SILURIAN 444 - 416 million years ago
Named for another welsh tribe, the silures, who inhabited areas where rocks of this age are abundant. Life in the oceans recovered from extinctions, magnificent coral reefs thrive in warm seas. Small plants begin to colonise the land and jawed fishes evolve.

DEVONIAN 416 - 359 million years ago
Named after the English county of Devon which is rich in Devonian age rocks and fossils. The Devonian period is also known as the age of the fishes. Jawed fish and placoderm fish rule the oceans, trilobites still thrive. Plants move from the coastal areas deep into land and the first forests spring up. Shark species increase in numbers and early forms of amphibian begin to spend more time on land.

See Dunkleosteus 

CARBONIFEROUS 359 - 299 million years ago
Known as the age of amphibians and named for the ancient coal deposits which were laid down during this time. The land is overrun with lush forests and swamps, The two main continents of the time, Eurasia and Gondwana are colliding to form the supercontinent Pangea. Winged insects take over the skies, oxygen content is much higher that today allowing insects to reach great sizes and the first true reptiles evolve, these are the first truly terrestrial vertebrates.

PERMIAN 299 - 251 million years ago
Named after Perm in Russia where rocks of the age are well exposed. Pangea is covered in harsh deserts, the number of species goes into decline, eventually 95% of them are wiped out in the worst mass extinction ever seen. Mammal like reptiles evolve. The first dinosaurs evolve towards the end of the Permian, they start as a few isolated groups and begin to increase rapidly in numbers.

See Scutosaurus Helicoprion Dimetrodon Gorgonops 

TRIASSIC 251 - 200 million years ago
Named after the word “Trias” referring to 3 rock divisions in Germany called bunter, muschelkalk and keuper. The climate of Pangea is warm and dry and dinosaurs have gradually assumed dominance in the land, skies and oceans. Mammals only exist as a few small species. Ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs reign in the sea and reach phenomenal size.

See Proterosuchus Tanystropheus 

JURASSIC 200 - 146 million years ago
Named for the Jura mountains. Dinosaurs still dominate the land and the oceans flourish with marine reptiles and ammonites. The first bird start to appear towards the end of the Jurassic.

See Liopleurodon Megalosaurus 

CRETACEOUS 146 - 65 million years ago
Named for the latin “creta” meaning chalk which is laid down during this period and found widely now. Dinosaurs continue to dominate, the first flowering plants evolve. Sea levels are up to 300m higher than today in some areas, much of the land is covered in shallow seas. Carbon dioxide concentrations rise, slowly choking the atmosphere. The end of the cretaceous is marked by the extinction of the dinosaurs due to possible meteor impact.

See Archelon Deinosuchus Ankylosaurus 

PALEOGENE 65 - 23 million years ago
The world begins to recover, mammals and birds begin to flourish and exploit the vacant niches left behind by the dinosaurs, in doing so they grow to incredible sizes. The climate is gradually cooling and will continue to do so bringing the earth into an ice age. In these cooler conditions the first grasses evolve.

See Gastornis Paraceratherium Entelodon Andrewsarchus Ambulocetus

NEOGENE 23 - 2.5 million years ago
The climate is still cooling, ice sheets begin to spread down from the poles, as a result sea levels slowly drop. The size of forests reduce and grasslands take over resulting in vast open planes. Mammals dominate the earth due to their ability to adapt to changing environments and harsh conditions. Towards the end of the period early hominids begin to appear.

See amphicyon Glyptodonts Megalodon

QUATERNARY 2.5 million years ago to present
With an enduring ice age much of the mammalian megafauna have become extinct. Hominids have continued to evolve, only the homo sapiens survive as they are able to adapt.

See Megatherium 

Mabill Week - Day One

Prompt: Mabel’s Dream (Demon) Boy 

Rating: PG

Summary: Bill tries to invade Mabel’s mind, is choked by Technicolor sparkles, fights a vampire

“Sorry, Shooting Star,” Bill said as he slipped into the slumbering girl’s mind. “Underneath all that silliness, you’re pretty sharp. I’ll give you that. But you’re no Stan Pines. The mind of a kid is no match for- ACK! BLEGH!”

Bill Cipher was a being of pure energy. He didn’t have a mouth. It was impossible for him to choke, and yet he was.

For millennia he’d invaded the minds of humanity. He’d seen all sort of indescribable horrors. He’d experienced the lusts of serial killers and delusions of mad men. Had caused quite a few of those too.

But this mind took the cake.

A technicolor wasteland hopped up on at least five different kinds of hallucinogens lay before him. There were the usual paths and doors, he could focus on that much at least. But the doors rested on moving- no, speeding walkways. They zipped from left and right, up and down, blurring faster than even he could track. Every single object - and Star’s mind was overloaded with objects - was a blasted mismatch of colors that rapidly shifted from hue to hue.

It hurt his eye. It hurt his mind.

Keep reading


About six million years ago in Africa, the chimpanzee lineage and our own split. The hominid lineage did not march in a straight line to Homo sapiens. Instead, the early hominid lineage gave rise to many other (now extinct) hominids.

Humans did not evolve from apes, gorillas or chimps. We are all modern species that have followed different evolutionary paths, though humans share a common ancestor with some primates, such as the African ape.

Today is the 41st anniversary of the discovery of “Lucy,” one of the most complete skeletons of early hominids found to date. 

This artist’s reconstruction shows how Lucy might have looked in life. The skeleton cast is on display in the Museum’s Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, and consists of bones from a single individual, presumably female, who stood well under 4 feet (1.2 m) tall. 

Members of Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, lived in eastern Africa, where they ventured down from the trees and roamed the grassy woodlands. Studies of the skeleton have shown that Lucy walked upright like modern humans, on two limbs rather than on four. But her short legs, small brain, and cone-shaped rib cage more closely resembles those of apes. The discovery and subsequent study of Lucy revealed that human ancestors were walking on two feet before taking the major evolutionary step of developing larger brains, and well before the earliest stone tools came into use. 

The 3.18-million-year-old Lucy was named after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which the researchers listened to as they celebrated their remarkable find.

See more from the Hall of Human Origins.

Dashie died, he was a dash and he was oh so young.

In short, my dash is dead, reblog if you reblog…

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Also, I follow for follow so you can also follow me In return if you want I’m almost near 405.

All Pokemon belong to a single species of memetic life form that reshapes itself to replicate concepts formed by those in its surroundings

Tentacool and Tentacruel, for example, came into existence because the idea of jellyfish existed.  However, Tentacool and Tentacruel are capable of sight, self-propelled movement, and shooting lasers, so they drove normal jellyfish to extinction and completely replaced them in the ecosystem.  The same can be said of all normal animals in the Pokemon universe.  Perhaps even the plants and fungi are actually Grass-type Pokemon, albeit with no immediate visual indicators

This memetic phenomenon extends to inanimate objects and inventions as well, but Pokemon have not yet completely replaced human appliances, likely because a sentient self-aware toaster is less desirable to the average person than a toaster that makes toast without talking back.  However, the recently developed Rotom Pokedex may indicate a future for the Pokemon world where every human construct is actually a Pokemon, shaped by the human imagination to form ever-closer partnerships, until the two species exist in an inseperable state of mutualistic symbiosis

Judging by the existence of Pokemon like Claydol and Sigilyph, which are confirmed to have been purposefully created by ancient man, this partnership has likely been developing since the first early hominids began to form abstract concepts


There was a time, before our ancestors smashed flint and steel together, when they felt the cold lack of fire in their lives. But anthropologists theorize that early hominids relied on lightning to cause forest fires, from which they could collect coals and burning sticks. Fire gave them the ability to cook food and clear land, and became central in many rituals and traditions. So instead of seeing forest fires as an exclusively bad thing, ancient humans may have learned to appreciate them.

Yet, it wasn’t just humans who benefited from these natural phenomena. Even as they destroyed trees, fires also helped the forests themselves—however counterintuitive that seems. In fact, several forest species need fire to survive. But how can fire possibly create life, in addition to destroying it? 

Find out by watching the TED-Ed Lesson Why wildfires are necessary - Jim Schulz

Animation by @provinciastudio

anonymous asked:

Um... No, no you're quite wrong with your information on meat eating. Primates are omnivores, it's why we have the teeth for it. Chimps hunt smaller monkeys, pigs and even small antipope. Hunting drove the spreading of early hominids across the globe

There are many biological characteristics in the human body which are clear evidence that we’re naturally plant eaters, and its through convention that we adapted our diets to an omnivorous one.

• Teeth- Canines: have you seen a proper carnivorous animal’s canine? Yeah, erm our canine teeth are seemingly microscopic next to them. Also, hippos have massive canine teeth yet they’re vegetarians.

• Teeth- Molars: Humans have flattened, slightly curved ‘back teeth’, unlike a lion’s molars which are sharp and blade-shaped perfect for chewing meat.

•Chewing and Jaw motion: our motion resembles that of a sheep, side-to-side and back-to-front, to make sure we chew our food (i'lll explain more on why we do this) unlike carnivores which have minimum side to side motion and generally swallow food hole.

•Saliva: human saliva contains amylase which breaks down starch found mainly and in large amounts in plants, other herbivores have this enzyme too whilst carnivores dont. ,

•Intestines: humans have very long intestines when compared to carnivores, not to mention the appendix we have which carnivores dont. As herbivores we need to make the digestion of food as efficient as possible because plants contain nutrients in small amounts and this is were the extensive chewing comes in, we need to take in all the nutrients and this is achieved as food takes more time to get through our very ling intestines. Carnivores, who eat large amounts of meat get loads of nutrients so they dont need these long intestines.

•instinct: if you were craving food, and there was this cute little puppy next to you would you rip its head off and just gnaw on its bones and eat it? This seems horrible right? To a carnivore its a missed opportunity if you didn’t.

And saying that we are omnivorous simply because we can is just ridiculous, in the same reasoning we can also eat cardboard. Also, our ancestors from around 4 million years ago were almost all vegetarian.
“Omnivore” does not mean 50% plant and 50%meat, chimpanzees are omnivorous and their diet consists of 95-99% plants.

And as far as evolution goes, our anatomy still favours a vegetarian diet. And hey you’re more than welcome to see some researches that have been carries out to show that our diets highly depend on our behaviour, read the research on chimpanzees carried by Andrew Whiten (a cognitive biologist) at the University of St. Andrews in the UK. (Live Science, April 2013).

You dont have to believe me, but rather than thinking of ways that what I’ve said might be wrong i challenge you to reevaluate this misconception that you’ve held. I’m not trying to get you to stop eating meat, i just want to tell you some facts and information.

The Leatoli Footprints and Early Human Ancestors

In 1978 a team led by British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey found trace fossils of animal footprints left in ash several million years old.  Searching further, Leakey’s team found the oldest trace fossils of early hominids in Leatoli, about 30 miles south of the famed Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.  The footprints are though to come from three individuals from the australopithecus afarensis family.  Like the pithecanthropus (see recent post here), the australopithecus was named under the assumption that it represented a missing link between humans and primates.  The name australopithecus comes from the Latin word australis meaning south and the Ancient Greek word pithekos meaning ape.  The name was given that same year by Donald Wilson and Tim White, who found fragments two thousand miles north of the Leatoli site in the Afar region of Ethiopia, hence afarensis.

Happy Birthday, Mary Leakey, born on this day, February 6, 1913.

Shout out to my little man, Rowan, another Ethiopian treasure!

Photo via J. Paul Getty Trust, copyright 1995.

Tourists to gain access to excavations for hominid bones in South Africa

With brio and a brown fedora that have earned comparisons with Indiana Jones, Professor Lee Berger leaps into a pit where he is hunting the remains of our ancestors who lived here 2 million years ago.

Typically such digs have taken place in remote corners of Africa, their discoveries announced in scientific journals and eventually visible to the public only inside glass cases at museums. But this week Berger announced that tourists will soon be able to watch the search for fossils that could rewrite our understanding of evolution at the Cradle of Humankind, a UN world heritage site north-west of Johannesburg, South Africa.

“It will be, to my knowledge – and I’m pretty sure I’ve got a comprehensive one – the only place in the world where you can sit and watch early hominids being excavated,” the US paleoanthropologist said. Read more.

mclannen-deactivated20140528  asked:

Random question: What do you imagine the anatomy of a mermaid to be? (Webbed fingers? Gills? Fins? Variations in tails? Inner anatomy?)

I like to imagine them to be something that evolved from early hominids, but adapted for underwater life, so bone structure somewhere between humans and fish. Maybe cartilage? Definitely webbed fingers, teeth, claws, gills. lots of crazy fins, feelers, maybe even tentacles, depending on the region they lived in. There might be shark, cephalopod, and other kinds of underwater creature variations. 

I love the romantic designs where they’re just beautiful men/women with fish tails, but if I want to convince myself a creature like that survives, it’s because they’ve adapted to seep-sea life, and probably look much more alien and frightening to us. Fun to think about!

The Leatoli Footprints and Early Human Ancestors

In 1978 a team led by British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey found trace fossils of animal footprints left in ash several million years old.  Searching further, Leakey’s team found the oldest trace fossils of early hominids in Leatoli, about 30 miles south of the famed Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.  The footprints are though to come from three individuals from the australopithecus afarensis family.  Like the pithecanthropus (see recent post here), the australopithecus was named under the assumption that it represented a missing link between humans and primates.  The name australopithecus comes from the Latin word australis meaning south and the Ancient Greek word pithekos meaning ape.  The name was given that same year by Donald Wilson and Tim White, who found fragments two thousand miles north of the Leatoli site in the Afar region of Ethiopia, hence afarensis

Happy Birthday, Mary Leakey, born on this day, February 6, 1913.

Shout out to my little man, Rowan, another Ethiopian treasure! 

Photo via J. Paul Getty Trust, copyright 1995.