Human evolution

Human evolution


Main points and critique of the article

Dingwall, Hatala, Wunderlich & Richmond (2013) conducted a study in Kenya to establish whether there were any considerable increases in the body size of the early Pleistocene in comparison to earlier hominins. The authors note the lack of complete post cranial fossils that can be used to carry any reliable comparisons as a major drawback to the studies on hominins. This is because most of what is relied on is fragmented skeletal elements that complicate research works in this field.

The authors conducted controlled research that established that there were considerable increases in the body mass among the early Pleistocene. The evidence was found in the comparisons between the sizes of footprints of the subjects which were smaller in comparison to those found on the site. This was supported by the estimated age of the Ileret site in Kenya where the studies were conducted. The age of this site coincides with a vital time period during the revolution of the hominins when the genus homo is known to have emerged.

The size of the footprints found at the site and the speed is indicative of individuals who were tall in stature and had large body masses. They were also capable of attaining high speeds while walking. This evidence is crucial in studying the predisposing conditions that necessitated this transformation and for how long the transition took place. The authors relied on a representative sample since there has been no evidence of major migratory activities in this region. This is based on information provided by the ancestors and corroborated by the elders among the Dassanach. The use of quantitative and qualitative techniques in conducting the study makes it more authentic especially in establishing correlations between the footsteps found at the site and those of the current inhabitants.

The presence of various sizes of footprints at the site is an indication of collective activities that were undertaken by adults, middle aged and the children. It can be said that the site which is near Lake Turkana, may have contained smaller ephemeral water points where these Pleistocene could have engaged in other activities like hunting water birds and terrestrial animals. This study is reliable since the selected subjects i.e. the Dassanach are still rooted in their traditional cultures. Most of them do not wear shoes and therefore their footprints on the sediment patch and walking speeds can be relied on.

Use of the article

The information contained in the article widens the understanding of the past societies and adds on to the existing archeological studies. The information provided in the article will be vital while writing the paper because it provides insights into correlations that exist between hominins and current human race. The stratigraphic orientation information and the correlated information on body masses and walking speed will form the basis of research into the paper. The findings highlighted in the article provide some fundamental findings on the morphology and physical abilities of the Pleistocene which might not be captured in most osteological studies. The footprints provide a glimpse into the nature of life in the last glacial period. This information will form a basis when conducting research on nature of life and various forms of techniques that were utilized by these people in their day to day activities. This article therefore provides a proper basis to write the paper due to the deep and authoritative information it contains.




Dingwall, H.L., Hatala, K.G., Wunderlich, R.E. & Richmond, B.G. (2013). Hominin stature, body mass, and walking speed estimates based on 1.5 million-year-old fossil footprints at Ileret, Kenya. Journal of Human Evolution 64: 556-568.



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