<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Social sciences: history

Grade 7

The first people

Module 13

The taung child

  • The probable age of the earth is calculated to be 6 billion years. Human beings and their predecessors have only existed for about 5 million to 8 million years, while human beings who have cultivated their own food and have lived in organised communities have only been on the earth for 6 000 to 8 000 years. This takes up hardly one millionth of the world's age.
  • This module will help you to discover something about people who lived millions of years ago. What we have been able to discover about them has come from evidence. Much of this evidence is obtained from bones, tools and painted pictures that have been discovered. But there is virtually no source material for long periods in the past . . .
  • More than 3 000 parts of skeletons belonging to early people have already been gathered in Africa. The accompanying map shows the different places in South and East Africa where these discoveries were made.

  • Africa has become known as the cradle of mankind because some of the oldest human fossils have been discovered here.
  • We'll be finding out how the fossils that archaeologists have found are able to tell us about the lives of these early people.

The human race developed in Africa. The remains of a Southern African child who died about 3 million years ago have provided many clues about early people. This evidence of the earliest member of the human race identified to date was discovered in 1924 in a limestone quarry near the town of Taung (“the place of the big lion”), 80 km north of Kimberley (in the North-west Province. A worker who was blasting limestone in the quarry found a small skull, which was sent to Professor Raymond Dart.

He immediately realised that it was different to anything he had ever seen.

This skull displayed two important features of the human race (hominids), namely:

  • small eye-teeth and
  • an erect posture

The skull was particularly small, which led Professor Dart to conclude that it belonged to a child of about five years of age. This is what suggested the idea of a Taung child. The evidence indicated that the child walked upright, like we do. Professor Dart therefore gave it the scientific name Australopithecus . According to what we know at present, Australopithecus was the first creature that walked upright, like modern people.

Activity 1:

To reconstruct the past

[lo 3.3]

Try to convince your friend by means of scientific arguments that people could not have developed from apes. (Or organise a class debate!)

Source A

Source B

The anatomy of a chimpanzee compels this animal to walk on the outside edges of its feet and therefore to waddle. This differs from the way of walking that is common to human beings, which was also used by Australopithecus .

People are the only primates that walk upright.

This means that the shape of the pelvic girdle, the position of the thighbone and the way in which the feet are placed on the ground are very specific.

The way in which the thighbone bears the weight of the body in humans is also different from how this happens in apes. It is easy to see that Australopithecus is more closely related to human beings than to apes with regard to all these aspects when the Australopithecus skeleton is compared to the skeletons of apes and humans.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, History grade 7. OpenStax CNX. Sep 09, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11023/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'History grade 7' conversation and receive update notifications?