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11_1 Archaic Homo in Europe_lecture script.pdf

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ARCH 131
Dennis Sandgathe

UNIT 11ARCHAIC HOMO IN EUROPE Slide 1 Title slide Slide 2 In this unit we are going to look at the earliest humans to make their way into Europe These include a wide range of fossils that have over the years been variously classified as Homo erectus Homo heidelbergensis Homo steinheimensis and several other now basically defunct species classifications Because of this range of variability and variety of classifications for simplicity sake researchers use the catchall term Archaic Homo to refer to all these fossils as a group Some researchers also include Neandertals in the category Archaic Homo but we will be dealing with them on their own in the next unit Slide 3 Before we move onto these early European homins lets do a quick reviewWe have the emergence of our own genus Homo in Africa about 25 million years ago currently represented by Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensisThen we have the appearance of Homo ergaster the African version of Homo erectus around or just after 2 million years agoAround this same time we have Homo erectus Homo ergaster or a closely related species leaving Africa and beginning to spread out into the rest of the Old World with Dmanisi being the earliest evidence of this discovered so farSome version of Homo erectus then arrives in Asia sometime between 2 million years ago and 1 million years agoAnd stays here until as recently as 50 thousand years ago or 100 thousand years ago Now what about Europe Slide 4 dence for hominins arriving in Europe at Well we have very good evileast by a million years ago These earliest hominin sites in Europe includeOrce in southern SpainCeprano near Romeand two adjacent sites Gran Dolina and Sima del Elefante at Atapuerca in northern Spain Slide 5 The site of Orce in Southern Spain has turned up both stone tools and cranial fragments that date to around 1 million years ago The cranial fragments are very small and fragmented and may in fact be the remains of a horse cranium rather than hominin The stone tools are genuine however and the date of around a million years seems good Slide 6 At Ceprano Italian archaeologists recovered an almost intact brain case and browridge that exhibits typical Homo erectus characteristics and has a cranial capacity of 1185 cc It was recovered from below a layer in the deposits that was well dated to 700 thousand years ago which means the cranium is at least that old and is likely closer to 900 thousand years oldOn top of this the layer above the cranium has handaxes in it and the layer below it has Mode I Oldowan choppers that are likely older than 900 thousand years and maybe as old as 1 million years
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