Bonobos and chimpanzees are very similar to each other. What are some of the key characteristics they share? They are also very different from each other, in some pretty interesting ways. What are the key differences between bonobos and chimpanzees? What evolutionary explanation has been proposed for these differences?
Bonobos and chimpanzees are our two closest living relatives and, as such, have a lot to tell us about who we are. How do you think understanding their behavior informs our understanding of our own behavior? BE SPECIFIC and make specific reference to the assigned materials. Please be sure your comments are rooted in the course materials and the conclusions we can draw from them.
What kind of tools do chimpanzees use? Female chimpanzees use tools more often than males and are more innovative in tool use. Why do you think this might be?
What did you find most interesting about the experiments and studies shown in Ape Genius? Be specific, explaining the experiment or study, what it was testing, what the results were, what conclusions can be drawn (or not) from it, and what species was tested.
It is widely accepted in the biological sciences, including biological anthropology, that many non-human species possess culture or elements of cultural behavior. How do the course materials define culture? What are some of the cultural behaviors discussed in the course materials? Can you find other examples of cultural behavior in non-human animals? Include links to any external websites you use.
The evolution of bipedalism was the first step in setting hominins down an entirely new evolutionary path from the other apes living at the time. How did the environment influence the emergence of bipedalism in our lineage? What environmental changes were occurring that selected for travel on two legs? What were some of the major anatomical changes that emerged?
We will spend a bit of time talking about the australopithecines but they were not the first hominins. Who were the earliest, pre-australopithecine hominins (there are 4)? What are some of their characteristics?
The australopithecines were a diverse group of hominins well-adapted to the savanna mosaic in East and South Africa. Who were the various australopithecine species? What were their characteristics? How do we see a mixture of ape-like and human-like characteristics in them?
What are the characteristics of Homo habilis (transitional early humans)? What are the significant differences we see between them and the australopithecines? What major cultural developments are associated with them?