When Humans Were Prey Why Are We The Only Humans Left? 1 day ago   09:52

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Not too long ago, our early human ancestors were under constant threat of attack from predators. And it turns out that this difficult chapter in our history may be responsible for the adaptations that allowed us to become so successful.

Thanks to Julio Lacerda and Studio 252mya for the illustrations of the Taung Child. You can find more of Julio's work here: https://252mya.com/gallery/julio-lacerda

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References:
http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/fossils/taung-child
http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/paranthropus-robustus
http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/fossils/oh-8
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4729050.stm
http://time.com/5424347/remains-neanderthal-giant-bird-poland/
http://scienceinpoland.pap.pl/en/news/news%2C31287%2Cscientists-discover-oldest-human-remains-poland-they-are-over-100000-years-old.html
Berger, L. R. (2006). Brief communication: Predatory bird damage to the Taung type-skull of Australopithecus africanus Dart 1925. American Journal of Physical Anthropology: The Official Publication of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 131(2), 166-168.
Berger, L. R., & Clarke, R. J. (1995). Eagle involvement in accumulation of the Taung child fauna. Journal of Human Evolution, 29(3), 275-299.
Berger, L. R., & McGraw, W. S. (2007). Further evidence for eagle predation of, and feeding damage on, the Taung child. South African Journal of Science, 103(11-12), 496-498.
Blumenschine, R. J., Stanistreet, I. G., Njau, J. K., Bamford, M. K., Masao, F. T., Albert, R. M., ... & Fernández-Jalvo, Y. (2012). Environments and hominin activities across the FLK Peninsula during Zinjanthropus times (1.84 Ma), Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution, 63(2), 364-383.
Brain, C. K. (1970). New finds at the Swartkrans australopithecine site. Nature, 225(5238), 1112.
Brain, C. K. (1983). The hunters or the hunted?: an introduction to African cave taphonomy. University of Chicago Press.
Bunn, H. T. (1991). A taphonomic perspective on the archaeology of human origins. Annual Review of Anthropology, 20(1), 433-467.
Dart, R. A. (1949). The predatory implemental technique of Australopithecus. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 7(1), 1-38.
Dart, R. A. (1953). The predatory transition from ape to man. Brill.
Dart, R. A. (1958). The Minimal Bone-Breccia Content of Makapansgat and the Australopithecine Predatory Habit. American Anthropologist, 60(5), 923-931.
Hart, D. (2018). Man the hunted: Primates, predators, and human evolution. Routledge.
Hart, D., & Sussman, R. W. (2011). The influence of predation on primate and early human evolution: impetus for cooperation. In Origins of Altruism and Cooperation (pp. 19-40). Springer, New York, NY.
Njau, J. K., & Blumenschine, R. J. (2006). A diagnosis of crocodile feeding traces on larger mammal bone, with fossil examples from the Plio-Pleistocene Olduvai Basin, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution, 50(2), 142-162.
Njau, J. K., & Blumenschine, R. J. (2012). Crocodylian and mammalian carnivore feeding traces on hominid fossils from FLK 22 and FLK NN 3, Plio-Pleistocene, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Journal of human evolution, 63(2), 408-417.
Pickering, T. R., Schick, K. D., & Toth, N. P. (Eds.). (2007). Breathing life into fossils: taphonomic studies in honor of CK (Bob) Brain. Gosport, IN: Stone Age Institute Press.
Tobias, P. V. (1990). When and by whom was the Taung skull discovered. Para conocer al hombre: homenaje a Santiago Genovése. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autonoma da Mexico, 207-213.
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Comments 3362 Comments

Joe DiGiovanni IV
Luckily we have champions like Chris Hansen to keep today's predators away.
Chris Connolly
Yeah definitely glad I didn’t live during that time
Ken L
Fun fact: "fully modern" humans get eaten all the time in this era haha
Leon Leo
Why was it so hard for people to believe humans were prey. We're, relative to others, such weak animals
Anthony Beers
We still occasionally fall pray to large African predators. One look at a lion and you realized that we are out matched if caught of guard.
Raphial Lee
This is just a theory.
Eric The Red
Gotta love anthropologists. State the obvious and call it a discovery. Have you seen a tiger?
StablizdBlodd
For all the people still think nonsense:
We are related to apes, *but we don't descended from them!*
John Pratt
Bonobo monkey human ape man ,what the lol
ÅLPHÅ
We're still prey
Caitlin S
I don't understand why its revolutionary to say that hominids used to be hunted. Homo sapiens would still be hunted today if we hadn't advanced so far as to have weapons and live in houses, which in turn are located in populous cities and towns.

If a bear or tiger or crocodile catches you in their terrotity alone and unarmed these days, they are still likely to attack - and win.
Avaixus
So if our past selves were non-violent & we evolved to become violent then if we wish to evolve further we must become MORE VIOLENT!!! I think it's time for a nuclear war so we can advance human civilization
Dj Death
Bird bird bird is the word
Dj Death
where is the actual picture of the ape?! if they were so smart then they would have outlived the silverback gorilla and would still live among us now.
Jack Jammen
When? Have you swam off the coast?
GeckaliusMaximus -
Imossible.
Grok Effer
Being hunted would be a big incentive to move out of Africa, and into places where they were less recognizable as prey.
Dani Perez
Is anyone gonna explain why the other monkeys didn’t evolve with us
Baron VR
This is important.
Mo Problems
Humans are still eaten by animals today. I'm from Somalia and my aunt lives way out in the bush. One night her baby crawled out of the hut and was eaten by a hyena.
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Why Are We The Only Humans Left? When Humans Were Prey 1 day ago   07:32

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Part 2 of our special series on Human Ancestry. Watch it all: http://bit.ly/OKTBSHuman
↓↓↓More info and sources below ↓↓↓

In part 2 of our special series on human ancestry, we ask why we are the only surviving branch on the human evolutionary tree. Just 50,000-100,000 years ago, Earth was home to three or four separate human species, including our most famous cousins: the Neanderthals. New research has shown that Neanderthals were not the brutish, unintelligent cavemen that cartoons make them out to be. They were creative, smart, social, and perhaps even had complex language. So why did they go extinct as soon as Homo sapiens moved into their territory? Does any trace of them live on today? Why don’t we have Neanderthal neighbors?

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REFERENCES:

Papagianni, Dimitra, and Michael A. Morse. The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science Is Rewriting Their Story. Thames & Hudson, 2015. http://amzn.to/2oov6GG (Library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/923279213)

Stringer, Chris. “Lone survivors: How we came to be the only humans on earth.” Macmillan, 2012. http://amzn.to/2oIFg3q (Library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/855581724)

Tattersall, Ian. “Masters of the planet: the search for our human origins.” Macmillan, 2012. http://amzn.to/2pOZrKS (Library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/733231407)

Walter, Chip. “Last ape standing: the seven-million-year story of how and why we survived.” Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2013. http://amzn.to/2pP2liy (Library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/872121723)


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