Ancient Hominin

The Assignment
Who exactly is the most ancient hominin ever found?  That depends who you talk to.  Along with Orrorin tugenensis (described above), the leading contender for the earliest possible hominin is Sahelanthropus tchadensis, known also known as Toumai or TM 266 (image at the top of the page). There has been significant debate and assessment of whether these two fossils are actually hominins.  For this assignment you are to use the scientific literature provided below to argue a position about which of them has the best case for being the earliest hominin.  Here are some things to address in your paper:

How, where, and by whom were each of the fossils discovered?
How old is each and how were they dated?
On what bases specifically do the discoverers of Sahelanthropous make the claim that it is a hominin?  Explain in detail.
On what bases are the claims of the discoverers of both Sahelanthropus and Orrorin disputed or supported and why?  Explain in detail using examples from the literature below. Visit for more details.

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Your conclusion: which of the two fossil discoveries has the best case for the claim of earliest possible ancestor? Why?
Some of the information I provided earlier for Orrorin tugenensis can help you and act as a model for your assignment. As you bring information about Orrorin into your assignment, please draw on the literature below and not my summary above. Please cite your information using APA references for the articles provided.  Do not bring in outside sources for the assignment, though you are free to utilize the internet and the Explorations textbook to help you make sense of the information.  The case you make must be evidence-based and not simply a reflection of your opinion. To be clear, you certainly do not need to read every word of the articles below, but you should look over all of them and make direct use of at least 6 of them. Some of the articles are by the discoverers, some are critiques, and some are reassessments by others.

The paper you submit should be a minimum of 1000 words.

Please type up your assignment, double space the document and submit it as a PDF or Word document with a total word count at the bottom of your paper that looks like this:

[1025 Words]

Please make sure your work is your own– the paper you write will automatically be reviewed by, an internet-based plagiarism detection device. After you submit the paper on Canvas, it will be reviewed automatically and assigned a similarity score (Links to an external site.). Your paper must be in the blue or green zones (have less than 25% similarity to other papers) and not in the yellow or orange in order to be acceptable, otherwise your grade will be reduced, quite possibly to a zero for the assignment.  You will also not be allowed to resubmit a new paper.  If you are not certain what constitutes plagiarism, you may refer to the information on the Academic Honesty Contract page.  It is very important that you write your own paper.

Upload your assignment as a PDF or Word doc by Sunday, April 25 at 11 pm.

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