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Lecture 21.pdf

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McGill University
ANTH 203
Michael Bisson

Anatomically Modern Homo Sapiens Introduction Referred to as AMHs Hominins whose skeletal characteristics fall entirely within the range of variation of modern humans Most Important Traits Reduction of the face Including placing the face lower on the braincase Reduction in the size and position of the teeth Causing the chin to project forward Brain is not larger than Archaic Homo sapiens Reduced muscularity of the body May be a consequence of more sophisticated technology including projectiles that allowed killing prey at a distance Qesem Cave Israel Earliest claimed at AMHs fossils Isolated teeth dating to 380,000 BP are claimed to be AMHs The excavators argue that this suggests AMHs had evolved in Eurasia at 400,000 BP and THEN spread into Africa Most specialists are skeptical of this claim because of the lack of other early evidence in Eurasia Ethiopia Omo Earliest unambiguous evidence of AMHs 195,000 BP Herto 160,000 BP Includes a child Earliest outside of Africa is in Israel, and it's 110,000 BP How and When? How and when did modern traits first appeared outside of Africa? Neanderthal problem A bias against Neanderthals that causes many people to exclude them from our direct ancestry Excluded from out ancestry in 1860's-1910's because considered too ape-like Included in 1920's-1960's in a simple unilinear theory of evolution Lumper perspective Australopithecines --> Homo habilis --> Homo erectus --> Archaic Homo sapiens including Neanderthals --> AMHs Multilinear theory AMHs originates in Europe but are displaced to Asia by Neanderthals In Asia, they develop a superior technology and migrates back to Europe, exterminating the "culturally and intellectually inferior" Neanderthals (splitter perspective) Hominid catastrophism or replacement model 1970's, unilinear theory is modified into a multi-regional theory of evolution Many regional variants of Homo erectus/ergaster, but gene flow between these areas maintained one human species Evidence cite long time depth in some geographically separated adaptive neutral traits e.g. In East Asia, persistence of sinodonty and everted mandibular angles from Homo erectus through to modern population Molecular evidence suggested that AMH's originated in Africa and spread to other areas Mitochondrial DNA Only inherited through the maternal line Higher mutation rate than nuclear DNA, making it useful in tracing evolutionary relationships Wilson found that Overall, there is very little difference in MDNA among all humans, suggesting a recent common ancestor for all living people Africans today have the most MDNA variation, thus Africans must represent the ancestral form If correct, this means that all living human shared a common female ancestor at that date (around 193,000 BP) Studies of the Y chromosome give a similar picture, but a different chronology Other than the controversial Qesem teeth, recent discoveries and re- dating of earlier discoveries show that Africa is where AMHs skeletal traits appear first Y chromosome Show an African origin for the last common ancestor of all living men Estimated date of this male is between 90,000 and 60,000 BP This is not inconsistent with the MDNA dates, as the mitochondrial and Y chromosome lines are not linked AMHs appear in the Near East by 115-90 kya ago Neanderthals reoccupied the Near East at 75 kya and remained there till 45 kya BP If the date for AMHs in Africa are correct, then a revised version of the multilinear model is more plausible Today's replacement model derive from the splitter perspective and imply that Neanderthals could not interbreed with AMHs to produce FERTILE offspring The
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