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Thread: Pre-human hominid shelters. What did they consist of?

  1. #1 Pre-human hominid shelters. What did they consist of? 
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    Can we proceed with the next step that I want to discover in human evolution and that is once pre-human hominids left the trees what sort of shelter did they have particularly for overnight resting?

    Does anyone know? Are there any ideas?
    Just about any animal known has preferred places to sleep and raise their young, so is it known how the pre-human hominids managed?


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    Where do the other apes rest? That might give us a clue. I know neanderthal have been discovered living in caves, but when did that begin?
    @Paleoichneum can you give us an idea of some good search terms to get the ball rolling please?


    Last edited by Robittybob1; September 17th, 2014 at 03:55 PM.
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    Maybe it wasn't night time shelter they needed.
    These chimps were using a cave to get away from the heat during the day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Maybe it wasn't night time shelter they needed.
    These chimps were using a cave to get away from the heat during the day.
    News Service: Iowa State University
    It is not surprising to see that sort of behavior in animals in general. Sheep and cattle will definitely seek shade in the heat of the day.

    Chimpanzees know how to make a bed. Every night they climb up trees and curl up in nests they build out of branches and leaves. They sleep in the treetops to avoid nighttime predators such as leopards. Many anthropologists think early hominids did the same thing when it was time to catch some zzz’s. But at least one population of chimpanzees enjoys sleeping on the forest floor, new research shows. This may mean that some early hominids did, too.The ground-sleeping chimps live in the Nimba Mountains of southern Guinea. Kathelijne Koops of the University of Cambridge in England and colleagues analyzed 634 chimp nests there from 2006 to 2008. About 14 percent of these beds were on the ground. In most chimpanzee populations, less than 5 percent of nests are on the ground, the team reports in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.



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    So they are making nests on the ground. What are these like?
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    Continuing on from the above study:
    So what does this have to do with our ancestors? Anthropologists have looked to chimpanzee sleeping habits as a proxy for early hominids because early hominid beds aren’t preserved in the fossil record. (The earliest known hominid bed dates to 77,000 years ago.) Even though our earliest ancestors probably spent most of their time walking upright on the ground, their skeletal features reveal that they still retained some climbing capabilities. And since they were vulnerable to predators, anthropologists reason, they were probably safer in the trees, just as most chimps are today. Researchers speculate it wasn't until Homo erectus, which had a modern body plan, that hominids started sleeping on the ground.
    Isn't that interesting that anthropologists feel they kept sleeping in the trees right up to the Homo erectus stage. Immediately that does not gel with me as haven't we lost our opposable big toe by that stage? I'll have to double check that.

    First article titled "Fossil foot hints that tree-dwellers lived alongside species built for walking." http://www.nature.com/news/ancient-human-ancestor-had-feet-like-an-ape-1.10342, showed that there were some species that walked like "Lucy" did and others that still climbed trees. So you are left wondering which line did we descend from? Was there some level of interbreeding between the (sub)species? We may never know. But they say humans are not descended from Australopithecus afarensis but I would hazard a guess we were out of the trees by then too. OK that suggests to me there are still more pre-human fossils to be found. We need to find an upright, bipedal, small jawed hominid with a large brain (2X) compared to a chimp.

    As the article showed that ground sleeping occurs in areas where there are no predators. So which environments don't the big cats like?
    The selection advantage to get out of the trees only works in the individuals in areas where there are no large predators otherwise you're their next meal.

    OK let's work with the hypothesis that lack of predators precedes coming out of trees which likewise precedes loss of the opposable big toe. (for any individual with no opposable big toe living in trees would be too likely to fall and hence that would be an evolutionary disadvantage.)
    When I read the post back it is a bit like the game "Rock Paper Scissors", each play can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the choice of the opposition.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock-paper-scissors
    Last edited by Robittybob1; September 17th, 2014 at 10:51 PM.
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    Continuing on with the study: Chimpanzees and Bonobos build nests in trees or on the ground. Has that characteristic evolved over time or was it present in the last common ancestor between Chimps and Humans? Actually it is pretty hard to tell or apply logic to that question. Currently chimpanzees and bonobo nests are no more than a collection of leaves in a preferred type of tree. The preferences are certainly a learned feature, for the chimps are shown how to build nests (preferred trees and sites??). So along with all the tool working skills there is learning "how to do it", but the complexity of the skill depends on brain size. We are not genetically wired to make fire or to cook or to make clothing, or to make tools, yet somewhere inside of me making a nest might just about be instinctive. A basic need for a shelter is an instinct, it seems fairly widespread instinctive behavior in young animals to stay in the nest or to find a nest (like, I see it in calves and definitely it isn't taught to them by the mother cows.) So is nest building generally a mammalian instinct?
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    Human Family Tree | The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program

    It is rather ironic in this picture for they have Homo sapiens at the top of the tree yet we came down from the trees!
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    So do we all agree "(that) there are still more pre-human fossils to be found. We need to find an upright, bipedal, small jawed hominid with a large brain (2X) compared to a chimp"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    So do we all agree "(that) there are still more pre-human fossils to be found. We need to find an upright, bipedal, small jawed hominid with a large brain (2X) compared to a chimp"?
    As a paleontologist, I say that there is always more fossils to be found. Whether it be pre-human fossils or fossilized Alnus leave, there will inevitably be some species that we will have only fragments or traces of at all. Fossilization is such a random lottery that I doubt we will ever have a complete picture of human evolution. We can only keep building theories based off of what we find and accept the most plausible and fact based ones. Categorizing and re-categorizing are the ways of the scientific world. Example: some researchers classify mooneye in it's own order Hiodontiformes while others put them in the order Osteoglossiformes.

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that upright, bipedal, small jawed, large brained hominid found in just the right Strata. We may never find more than a toe bone. More early hominid fossils would surely be a plus to science. I just know how hit or miss fossils can be so I know not to get my hopes up.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    So do we all agree "(that) there are still more pre-human fossils to be found. We need to find an upright, bipedal, small jawed hominid with a large brain (2X) compared to a chimp"?
    As a paleontologist, I say that there is always more fossils to be found. Whether it be pre-human fossils or fossilized Alnus leave, there will inevitably be some species that we will have only fragments or traces of at all. Fossilization is such a random lottery that I doubt we will ever have a complete picture of human evolution. We can only keep building theories based off of what we find and accept the most plausible and fact based ones. Categorizing and re-categorizing are the ways of the scientific world. Example: some researchers classify mooneye in it's own order Hiodontiformes while others put them in the order Osteoglossiformes.

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that upright, bipedal, small jawed, large brained hominid found in just the right Strata. We may never find more than a toe bone. More early hominid fossils would surely be a plus to science. I just know how hit or miss fossils can be so I know not to get my hopes up.
    Thanks.
    Where would I look?
    I'd try and work out where the coast of Africa was 2-3 million years ago, then see if I can find the strata that was the surface at that time, and look there.
    For the pre-human I'm thinking of was semi-aquatic, and had no trees to climb, they had to walk between their shelters and the shoreline.
    They swam and walked so their toes were like ours, that big "toe bone" will be like ours. So far the effort has been too much inland, now we need to go coastal.
    Did you put your view on the Aquatic Apes thread?
    I'll go back over your posts. Cheers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Thanks.
    Where would I look?
    I'd try and work out where the coast of Africa was 2-3 million years ago, then see if I can find the strata that was the surface at that time, and look there.
    What?

    For the pre-human I'm thinking of was semi-aquatic, and had no trees to climb, they had to walk between their shelters and the shoreline.
    They swam and walked so their toes were like ours, that big "toe bone" will be like ours. So far the effort has been too much inland, now we need to go coastal.
    What "pre-human"?

    There is no evidence to support this. Can you please explain why you believe this? And please cite credible and scientific evidence to support this belief? What is this belief based on?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    So do we all agree "(that) there are still more pre-human fossils to be found. We need to find an upright, bipedal, small jawed hominid with a large brain (2X) compared to a chimp"?
    As a paleontologist, I say that there is always more fossils to be found. Whether it be pre-human fossils or fossilized Alnus leave, there will inevitably be some species that we will have only fragments or traces of at all. Fossilization is such a random lottery that I doubt we will ever have a complete picture of human evolution. We can only keep building theories based off of what we find and accept the most plausible and fact based ones. Categorizing and re-categorizing are the ways of the scientific world. Example: some researchers classify mooneye in it's own order Hiodontiformes while others put them in the order Osteoglossiformes.

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that upright, bipedal, small jawed, large brained hominid found in just the right Strata. We may never find more than a toe bone. More early hominid fossils would surely be a plus to science. I just know how hit or miss fossils can be so I know not to get my hopes up.
    Thanks.
    Where would I look?
    I'd try and work out where the coast of Africa was 2-3 million years ago, then see if I can find the strata that was the surface at that time, and look there.
    For the pre-human I'm thinking of was semi-aquatic, and had no trees to climb, they had to walk between their shelters and the shoreline.
    They swam and walked so their toes were like ours, that big "toe bone" will be like ours. So far the effort has been too much inland, now we need to go coastal.
    Did you put your view on the Aquatic Apes thread?
    I'll go back over your posts. Cheers.
    I have commented in the current AAH thread once or twice, in years past when the AAH was brought up I had commented on it then as well. No offense, but I am not a fan of the the AAH. If there were populations of aquatic or semi-aquatic (what is your definition of semi-aquatic?) hominids, then there would be a greater chance for fossils of them. When digging in ancient lakebed strata, there is a higher chance of finding aquatic and semi-aquatic species than terrestrial species. Remains of terrestrial species do find their way into lake deposits, in great number even. It's just that the ratio of terrestrial species to aquatic species fossils will have the aquatic species fossils outnumbering the terrestrial. This is not true with aquatic plants necessarily but with creatures that have bones it is. So finding some hominids in strata would not be enough evidence to support the AAH, finding a deposit where they are as numerous as the Knightia fish fossils in the Green River formation could be possible evidence of a aquatic or semi-aquatic existence. However a deposit like that could also indicate a flood or natural disaster as well, so it is in no way a concrete confirmation of the AAH, I'm just throwing out what you would need to find to validate the AAH.

    As for where would you look, I don't really know. I focus on Eocene (about 50mya) fossils in western North America, so Africa and hominids are not my specialty. If you are serious about finding an outcrop, check geological surveys and reconstruction maps of what the continent looked like in the times that you are interested in.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

    "It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down"
    - Yagyu Munenori

    "Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    So do we all agree "(that) there are still more pre-human fossils to be found. We need to find an upright, bipedal, small jawed hominid with a large brain (2X) compared to a chimp"?
    As a paleontologist, I say that there is always more fossils to be found. Whether it be pre-human fossils or fossilized Alnus leave, there will inevitably be some species that we will have only fragments or traces of at all. Fossilization is such a random lottery that I doubt we will ever have a complete picture of human evolution. We can only keep building theories based off of what we find and accept the most plausible and fact based ones. Categorizing and re-categorizing are the ways of the scientific world. Example: some researchers classify mooneye in it's own order Hiodontiformes while others put them in the order Osteoglossiformes.

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that upright, bipedal, small jawed, large brained hominid found in just the right Strata. We may never find more than a toe bone. More early hominid fossils would surely be a plus to science. I just know how hit or miss fossils can be so I know not to get my hopes up.
    Thanks.
    Where would I look?
    I'd try and work out where the coast of Africa was 2-3 million years ago, then see if I can find the strata that was the surface at that time, and look there.
    For the pre-human I'm thinking of was semi-aquatic, and had no trees to climb, they had to walk between their shelters and the shoreline.
    They swam and walked so their toes were like ours, that big "toe bone" will be like ours. So far the effort has been too much inland, now we need to go coastal.
    Did you put your view on the Aquatic Apes thread?
    I'll go back over your posts. Cheers.
    I have commented in the current AAH thread once or twice, in years past when the AAH was brought up I had commented on it then as well. No offense, but I am not a fan of the the AAH. If there were populations of aquatic or semi-aquatic (what is your definition of semi-aquatic?) hominids, then there would be a greater chance for fossils of them. When digging in ancient lakebed strata, there is a higher chance of finding aquatic and semi-aquatic species than terrestrial species. Remains of terrestrial species do find their way into lake deposits, in great number even. It's just that the ratio of terrestrial species to aquatic species fossils will have the aquatic species fossils outnumbering the terrestrial. This is not true with aquatic plants necessarily but with creatures that have bones it is. So finding some hominids in strata would not be enough evidence to support the AAH, finding a deposit where they are as numerous as the Knightia fish fossils in the Green River formation could be possible evidence of a aquatic or semi-aquatic existence. However a deposit like that could also indicate a flood or natural disaster as well, so it is in no way a concrete confirmation of the AAH, I'm just throwing out what you would need to find to validate the AAH.

    As for where would you look, I don't really know. I focus on Eocene (about 50mya) fossils in western North America, so Africa and hominids are not my specialty. If you are serious about finding an outcrop, check geological surveys and reconstruction maps of what the continent looked like in the times that you are interested in.
    Yes I recalled your posts in the Aquatic Apes thread. Thanks. Look to me a semi-aquatic ape is one where swimming diving and in and around the water survival has been strongly selected for in the phenotype. Diet from the aquatic life forms would also provide a significant proportion of their needs. If they lived near the sea they would also need to live near to freshwater as well so that seems to suggest estuaries, and you must admit that is a great place to get food both from the fertile ground, the river and the sea.
    I like your suggestion of looking into the geological surveys.
    If you had a moment could you suggest a string of good search terms to put into Google please?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post

    I have commented in the current AAH thread once or twice, in years past when the AAH was brought up I had commented on it then as well. No offense, but I am not a fan of the the AAH. If there were populations of aquatic or semi-aquatic (what is your definition of semi-aquatic?) hominids, then there would be a greater chance for fossils of them. When digging in ancient lakebed strata, there is a higher chance of finding aquatic and semi-aquatic species than terrestrial species. Remains of terrestrial species do find their way into lake deposits, in great number even. It's just that the ratio of terrestrial species to aquatic species fossils will have the aquatic species fossils outnumbering the terrestrial. This is not true with aquatic plants necessarily but with creatures that have bones it is. So finding some hominids in strata would not be enough evidence to support the AAH, finding a deposit where they are as numerous as the Knightia fish fossils in the Green River formation could be possible evidence of a aquatic or semi-aquatic existence. However a deposit like that could also indicate a flood or natural disaster as well, so it is in no way a concrete confirmation of the AAH, I'm just throwing out what you would need to find to validate the AAH.

    As for where would you look, I don't really know. I focus on Eocene (about 50mya) fossils in western North America, so Africa and hominids are not my specialty. If you are serious about finding an outcrop, check geological surveys and reconstruction maps of what the continent looked like in the times that you are interested in.
    Yes I recalled your posts in the Aquatic Apes thread. Thanks. Look to me a semi-aquatic ape is one where swimming diving and in and around the water survival has been strongly selected for in the phenotype. Diet from the aquatic life forms would also provide a significant proportion of their needs. If they lived near the sea they would also need to live near to freshwater as well so that seems to suggest estuaries, and you must admit that is a great place to get food both from the fertile ground, the river and the sea.
    I like your suggestion of looking into the geological surveys.
    If you had a moment could you suggest a string of good search terms to put into Google please?
    Here is a link to company that makes geo maps of the ancient world. As for geological surveys, I'm not sure for Africa the US Geological Service made lots of good geo maps of the US. But I don't know who covers Africa.

    Global Regional paleogeographic maps Ronald Blakey CP Geosystems

    I don't think anyone would deny that the area around estuaries are a great place for animals to live. You get the best of several worlds in those areas.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

    "It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down"
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    "Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Here is a link to company that makes geo maps of the ancient world. As for geological surveys, I'm not sure for Africa the US Geological Service made lots of good geo maps of the US. But I don't know who covers Africa.

    Global Regional paleogeographic maps Ronald Blakey CP Geosystems

    I don't think anyone would deny that the area around estuaries are a great place for animals to live. You get the best of several worlds in those areas.
    Well that is one word "paleogeography". Thanks. I need some way to narrow the time period to the period of hominid evolution. Even during those 5 million years (2-7 million ya) there would have been constant/various changes. The maps need an expert to decipher, it isn't easy.
    So we'd need a team of experts before we go to Africa.
    I have an interest in geology but I have no real experience in that field.
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    One thing that has really dawned on me is how much difference there has been in what we as individuals accept as a suitable shelter, from the hominid leafy nests to the palatial homes of modern man today.
    Its raining today so I'm pleased there is an iron roof above me today!
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