University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Anthropology Paper

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Fossil Finds Assignment

For this assignment, imagine you are an evolutionary biologist/paleoanthropologist who has just uncovered a relatively complete fossilized hominid skeleton. You (and your well-seasoned crew of scientists) have determined that this is a NEW species and plan to publish your results in the peer-reviewed journal New Discoveries. You are also aware that NEW hominin species attract lots of public interest, so you need to prepare a visual depiction highlighting the salient features of your hominin.

Written Paper

This should be at least an 800-word long description and interpretation of what was uncovered. The paper must cover the following (you must include something for each of these points – you will be downgraded if you say that nothing was found):

  • The environment where the fossil hominid was found; what made you choose that location to search?
  • The dating techniques utilized to determine the age of the fossil hominid and why (the method you choose should be appropriate for the context where the remains were discovered, and the age should be appropriate for the method chosen)
  • The morphology (physical features) of the fossil hominid and what you were able to interpret about the behavior of the species based on this (i.e. locomotion, eating habits, activity patterns, etc.)
  • Any other associated faunal (animal) remains, and what this tells you about the ecological niche (if there are no associated faunal remains, you should explain why there are not any)
  • Any associated artifacts, tools (how were they used and what brought you to this conclusion)
  • Other species you feel this species is related to and why
  • The genus and species name you have given this species and why
  • A visual depiction of your specimen (either the entire fossil or salient features)

Be detailed in your responses and think of the evolutionary patterns. Grades will be determined based on content and creativity. Drawings, pictures, and mock-photos can all be used as part of the assignment.

Make sure that you have:

1) invented an entirely new fossil

2) addressed each required point

3) properly use scientific nomenclature

4) selected a dating technique that is appropriate for the context of discovery and the time period the fossil comes from

5) included a visual depiction of the new find

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