Skip to content Skip to navigation Skip to collection information

OpenStax_CNX

You are here: Home » Content » History Grade 7 » The Taung child

Navigation

Lenses

What is a lens?

Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

This content is ...

In these lenses

  • GETSenPhaseSS display tagshide tags

    This collection is included inLens: Siyavula: Social Sciences (Gr. 7-9)
    By: Siyavula

    Collection Review Status: In Review

    Click the "GETSenPhaseSS" link to see all content selected in this lens.

    Click the tag icon tag icon to display tags associated with this content.

Recently Viewed

This feature requires Javascript to be enabled.

Tags

(What is a tag?)

These tags come from the endorsement, affiliation, and other lenses that include this content.
 

The Taung child

Module by: Siyavula Uploaders. E-mail the author

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.
Figure 1
Figure 1 (Picture 1.png)
  • 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.

Figure 2
Figure 2 (Picture 2.png)

  • 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.

Figure 3
Figure 3 (Picture 3.png)

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.

Figure 4
Figure 4 (Picture 6.png)

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

Figure 5
Figure 5 (Picture 7.png)

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.

The turned-in knees of humans and of Australopithecus allow the feet to be aligned to the front.

This means that the ball of the foot and the big toe, in particular, plays an important role in walking.

Figure 6
Figure 6 (Picture 8.png)

Source C

Table 1
Picture 9.png
Pelvic girdles and thighbones. The similarity of the human thighbone and that of Australopithecus is clearly identifiable. The vertical black line G indicates the axis along which the weight is transferred from the hip to the knee. A = os ileum (hipbone), B = socket for the thighbone, C = os pubis (pubic bone), D = os ischium, E = os sacrum, F = os femur (thighbone).

Source D

Table 2
Picture 10.png
With Australopithecus the knee joints were turned inwards, as with modern human beings and their footprints formed a similar pattern to ours. The chimpanzee has a waddling gait when it walks on hind legs only.

Twelve years later, in 1936, Dr. Robert Boom discovered an adult skull at Sterkfontein (near Krugersdorp). He initially thought that he had found a female of a new species and named it Plesianthropus transvaalensis (Mrs. Ples). But further investigation revealed Mrs. Ples to be virtually identical to the Taung child.

Activity 2:

To understand time by showing that some communities changed because of particular circumstances, while other communities were unaffected

[LO 2.1]

a) Study the following and then answer the questions that are provided. First make a sketch illustrating similar circumstances at your home.

Figure 7
Figure 7 (Picture 11.png)
  • Is it difficult to get hold of food? Is food shared among the family members?
  • What kind of clothing is worn?
  • What is revealed about family life? Do adults care for their children?
  • What equipment and weapons are used? Has technology brought about any changes?
  • Is it possible to be safe while sleeping at night?
  • Do men and women have different tasks?
  • Do these people remain in one place for a long time?

b) Develop a comic strip or an art song to give expression to the above information.

Assessment

Table 3
Assessment standards(ASe)
LEARNING OUTCOME 1: HISTORICAL ENQUIRY- The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate the past and present
1.1 Access the sources
1.2 Use the sources
1.3 Communicate information from sources (reporting))
LEARNING OUTCOME 2: HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING – The learner will be able to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding
2.1 Understand chronology and time
2.2 Supply reasons why an historical event took place (causes, effects)
2.3 Differentiate between different periods (similarities, differences)
LEARNING OUTCOME 3: INTERPRETING HISTORY – The learner will be able to interpret aspects of history
3.1 Be aware of more than one view of the past
3.2 Distinguish between fact and opinion
3.3 Reconstruct the past

Memorandum

Activity 1

There are clear differences between apes and human beings. Man is the only primate to walk upright. The shape of the pelvis, the position of the femur, and the way in which the feet are put down, are very specific. A comparison between the build of the rest of the body and the brain indicates that the Australopithecus is related closer to man. There was a development pattern fromAustralopithecus through Homo habilis and Homo erectus to the modern day Homo sapiens.

Activity 2

Suppose this illustration is a representation of the Stone Age:

They lived in caves where they slept and kept food, and used tools, weapons and fire. Gathering food was the main activity. The men hunted and caught fish. The women and children gathered berries, wild fruit and root plants. They also hoarded food for the winter months and also prepared food. Tools were made of bone, stone and wood and gradually improved because they also manufactured arrows, axes and daggers. They could manufacture objects, e.g. “needles” that were used to sew clothing from wool and flax. Early man never stayed long in one place.

Collection Navigation

Content actions

Download:

Collection as:

PDF | EPUB (?)

What is an EPUB file?

EPUB is an electronic book format that can be read on a variety of mobile devices.

Downloading to a reading device

For detailed instructions on how to download this content's EPUB to your specific device, click the "(?)" link.

| More downloads ...

Module as:

PDF | EPUB (?)

What is an EPUB file?

EPUB is an electronic book format that can be read on a variety of mobile devices.

Downloading to a reading device

For detailed instructions on how to download this content's EPUB to your specific device, click the "(?)" link.

| More downloads ...

Add:

Collection to:

My Favorites (?)

'My Favorites' is a special kind of lens which you can use to bookmark modules and collections. 'My Favorites' can only be seen by you, and collections saved in 'My Favorites' can remember the last module you were on. You need an account to use 'My Favorites'.

| A lens I own (?)

Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks

Module to:

My Favorites (?)

'My Favorites' is a special kind of lens which you can use to bookmark modules and collections. 'My Favorites' can only be seen by you, and collections saved in 'My Favorites' can remember the last module you were on. You need an account to use 'My Favorites'.

| A lens I own (?)

Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks