Anthropology 101 Lecture Notes, October 17, 2012
ORIGINS OF MODERN HUMANS: HOMO SAPIENS
- For a long time we thought Neandertals were the direct ancestors of modern humans.
- But that is not true. So what happened to the Neandertals and where did we come from?
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MODERN HUMANS
- oldest remains inAfrica (120kya? maybe 150kya)
- rounded skull, high forehead
- small teeth
- presence of a chin (not an adaptation or anything, just a thing)
- slender build compared to the muscular archaics
- homo erectus > archaics > homo sapiens sapiens
- MODERN HUMANS are CONTEMPORARY with NEANDERTALS
- before Modern Humans came to Europe, they existed elsewhere in tandem
- There is a time in the middle east when they co-exist.
- Modern Humans migrate out ofAfrica into the middle east around 100,000 years ago.
- the two populations live side by side for almost 30,000 years
- for a long period of time when the two are coexisting, we don't really find any differences
in the way they live.
- very difficult to tell if a site belongs to neandertals or modern humans
- this is why when talking about humans from that time we often talk about them as anatomically
modern humans rather than behavioural modern humans.
- no evidence of cultural differences at that time between neandertals and homo sapiens WHAT HAPPENED TO NEANDERTALS
- the fate of the Neandertals is directly linked to the existence of the homo sapiens.
● MODERN HUMANS MIGRATE OUT OFAFRICAAND REPLACEALLARCHAIC
HOMINIDS (OUT OFAFRICA hypothesis)
- here the idea is that modern humans evolve in africa and then migrate out of africa and then run
into archaic homo sapiens who had not yet evolved and they "replace" them.
by "replace" they could mean we out compete them, take their resources, reproduce more, and
they starve out. we could also mean genocide by "replace." we could also possibly have brought
BUT, we lack any evidence for any of these ideas.
killing them - we are not talking about an army of homo sapiens marching out of africa on a war
path. no. it is little bands that slowly wander north ofAfrica. plus, the Neandertals andArchaics
are huge. there doesn't seem like there was a reason to fight either. the people living in these
small bands were not involved in warfare. there may have been conflict but there is no evidence
of fighting. so this is not impossible, but it is unlikely
diseases - it is possible that they could have brought some diseases that could have wiped out
some archaics and neandertals, but it is highly unlikely this wiped outALL of them.
out compete them - some hypotheses run that it took them longer to mature than us and they
were not reproducing as quickly. but this is pure speculation. perhaps if we had better tools or
methods or any real difference between our behaviours and their behaviours we could say that
we out compete them, but there is no evidence of this. plus, we were the new migrants, they were
better adapted to their environment that we are.
● MODERN HUMANS INTERBREED WITH OTHERARCHAIC HOMINIDS, BUT
SOMEARE REPLACED (PARTIAL REPLACEMENT hypothesis/model)
- we would have to find fossils with characteristics of both neandertal traits and modern human
traits. some point to this as evidence for interbreeding. BUT this could be a transitional fossil that
is evolving from neandertals into more human like beings since these were found in the middle
east. some people argue that these fossils inbetween are the result of neandertals and modern humans being very similar to begin with and maybe some of these archaic pops are evolving into
modern humans given the warmer environment.
- the debate also must ask, can we successfu