D.3c: Human Evolution

24/09/2013 § 1 Comment

Hahahahaha, there is no reading involved in this particular blog because we read it for the last one??? What is going on with my life?


Page 320, cranial capacity and diet


a) Outline the relationship between cranial capacity and dietary energy. —> As evolution progresses and the cranial capacity (size of the skull) gets bigger with each hominid species, the percent of dietary energy also increases.

b) Suggest a reason for this relationship. —> The size of the skull can support a bigger brain, and a bigger brain requires more energy (so more meat instead of just vegetables).


a) Analysis of fossils suggests that there was an increased consumption in meat in the diet of hominids with time. State what kind of fossil evidence might show this. —> The evolution of the kind of teeth in hominids is the fossil evidence we have that show an increased consumption of meat.

b) Explain why this change to a more carnivorous diet might have been important in the evolution of humans. —> Firstly, the climate change of the hominid’s environment triggered a change in how they get their food. They switched from eating mostly plants to having to hunt meat and other animals in order to eat. The addition of meat in their diet gives them an increased supply of protein and other nutrients that the brain needs as energy to grow. A larger brain is often associated with more intelligence, which would ultimately help the hominid species to hunt better and survive.


a) State the relationship between relative diet quality and relative brain size. —> The higher the diet quality, the larger the size of the brain. 

b) Suggest a reason for humans being above the trend line for this relationship. —> Primates mostly eat plants and humans eat basically anything but overall, humans’ diet quality is better in that we take in a larger variety of nutrients. Because of this, our brains are … you know. Bigger.

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§ One Response to D.3c: Human Evolution

  • cafergy says:

    Grade 6 A consistent and thorough understanding of the required knowledge and skills, and the ability to apply them in a wide variety of situations. Consistent evidence of analysis, synthesis and evaluation is shown where appropriate. The student generally demonstrates originality and insight.

    Data-based question: Page 320

    • positive relationship
    • as cranial capacity increases, % of resting energy allocated to the brain increases
    • the primates with the smallest cranial capacity used as little as 9% of resting energy to the brain
    • the primates with the largest cranial capacity used as much as 24% of resting energy to the brain

    • the brain consumes larger amounts of energy than other organs
    • neurons require much ATP for active transport

    • butchery marks found on animal bones associated with hominid fossils
    • stone tools suitable for hunting/scavenging associated with hominid fossils
    • hominid tooth morphology adapted for meat eating
    • large concentrations of large animal bones associated with hominid fossils

    • carnivorous diets have more calories than herbivorous diets
    • carnivorous diets have more protein/amino acids than herbivorous diets
    • carnivorous diets have more fat than herbivorous diets
    • more calories/protein/fat provides more energy for a larger brain

    • positive relationship/ as relative diet quality increases, relative brain size increases

    • human brain might use energy more efficiently
    • other factors than diet/ sexual selection/ social competition for intelligence

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