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Processes in Human EvolutionThe journey from early hominins to Neandertals and Modern Humans$
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Francisco J. Ayala and Camilo J. Cela-Conde

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739906

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198739906.001.0001

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(p.45) Chapter 2 Taxonomy
Processes in Human Evolution

Francisco J. Ayala

Camilo J. Cela-Conde

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the hominin tribe as it branches off within the hominoid diversification. It considers the differences between humans and chimpanzees, and explores the systems of classification of the human lineage. Next come the different adaptive strategies of the various genera of the human lineage. An outcome of different adaptations are the derived characteristic human traits, from large brains to bipedalism, which is the only apomorphy universally shared by the human lineage. Bipedalism is analyzed in detail, morphologically as well as functionally, including biomechanical features, comparing fossil exemplars to preserved footprints. The final issue explored is the narrowing of the birth canal caused by different degrees of bipedalism. Bipedalism changed somewhat its function when adjusting to running in the open savannas.

Keywords:   hominin, hominoidea, adaptive strategies, bipedalism

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