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13_1 AMH morphology and fossils script.pdf

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Simon Fraser University
ARCH 131
Dennis Sandgathe

UNIT 13 ANATOMICALLY MODERN HUMANS 131 Anatomically Modern Human Morphology and fossils Slide 1 Title slide Slide 2 We have finally arrived at modern humansusA commonly used category for our own earliest fossils is Anatomically Modern Humans or AMH for short Actually compared to Neandertals there are very few examples of early obviously modern human remainseven relatively recent ones Anatomically Modern Human fossils dating to after 25000 years ago become much more common but from sites older than this they are very rareso far However there are still a few things that we think we know for sure about these early direct ancestors of all living people Slide 3 There are 3 things that we know about Anatomically Modern Humans based on the fossil and genetic evidence available so farFirst Anatomically Modern Humans first appear sometime between 250000 and 150000 years agoSecondly the oldest Anatomically Modern Human fossils found so far come from Africa and this seems very likely to be our original place of originAnd everyone alive today belongs to a single species Homo sapiens sapiens that descend directly from early Anatomically Modern Humans Slide 4 When it comes to understanding the general skeletal morphology of modern humans we obviously have a huge sample of examples to study since we have innumerable recent skeletons available from various contexts Although very similar in general to all other hominin craniums from the last 1 or 2 million years the Anatomically Modern Human cranium also has some obviously distinctive characteristics In side viewWe have a tall rounded cranial vaultWe have a much more vertical foreheadthis is more so in females than malesWe have little or no brow ridgemales will sometimes have a slight brow ridge but females have noneWe have a very flat faceespecially compared to Homo erectus or the NeandertalsWe have a very pointy prominent chinWe have a large mastoid process that typically protrudes below the plain of the base of the skull The mastoid process is the origin for several important neck muscles that are involved in tilting and rotating the head Why it is larger in us is not really clearit may not have any real evolutionary or adaptive significanceThe lower back of our cranium is generally much rounder although there are some modern humans with slight occipital buns like Neandertals had Slide 5 In frontal viewThe widest point of our skull is very high up the sidesWe have more square or rectangular orbitseye socketsWe have a significantly smaller nasal aperture which translates into a much smaller nose than Neandertals
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