Biology-Lecture 5-Chapter 9-Homo Erectus and Archaic Homo Sapiens Chapter 10-Modern Homo Sapiens

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23 Aug 2010

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Chapter 9: Homo Erectus and Archaic Homo Sapiens
Homo Erectus
y First hominin to be found outside Africa (Europe and Asia 2 MYA)
y Homo Ergaster: Africa
y Homo Erectus: east Asia
y Homo Heidelbergensis: Europe
y Homo erectus-> early samples of homo sapiens
The Discovery in Java and Later Finds
y Dubois found: Pithecanthropus erectus (³erect ape man´)
y Ape? Man?
y Koenigswald: More homo erectus fossils found in java from about 1 MYA
y Black: 1929- evidence of first ³peking man´ skull (china)
y Not until 1950s were homo erectus skulls found in N Africa
y Since then have been found in E Africa (Tanzania, Kenya)
y Oldest known specimen of homo erectus found by Leakey, Kenya, dates back 1.78 MYA
Physical Characteristics of Homo Erectus
y Skull: long, low, thickly walled, flat frontal area, prominent brow ridges
y Sagittal Keel: an inverted v-shaped running along the top of the skull
y Occipital Torus: a ridge bone running horizontally across the back of the skull in apes and
some hominins
y Small teeth
y Taurodontism: having teeth with an enlarged pulp cavity
y Lighter, thinner jaw
y Prognathic: a physical feature that is sticking out or pushed forward, such as the faces in
apes and some hominin species
y Flat, projecting nose
y Walk upright, manipulate things (modern)
y Give birth to more immature babies with smaller head in order to pass through bipedal pelvis
Homo Floresiensis
y A distinct species closely related to homo erectus and only found on the Indonesian island of
Flores. They are tiny, with cranial capacities of about 380 cc- dwarfism
The Evolution of Homo Erectus
y Brain continued to expand (Increasing use of tools )
y Face, teeth, jaw continued to shrink (Eating proper cooked meat)
y Reduction in extent of sexual dimorphism
y Culture: home bases, meeting places, family groups, sharing, marriage
y Movement of populations (our of E/S Africa)
y Adaption to new environments without apparent physical changes
y Usage of fire
y Wear animal fur for warmth, hunting
y Darker skin
Homo Erectus Culture
y Oldowan chopper tool technology
y Acheulian: a stone tool making tradition (1.5 MYA). Compared with Oldowan tradition,
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Acheulian assemblages have more large tools created according to standardized designs or
shapes. One of the most characterized and prevalent tools Acheulian tool kit is the so called
hand axe, which is a teardrop shaped bifacial flaked tool with a thinned sharp tip. Other large
tools may have been cleavers and picks
The Acheulian Tool Traditions
y Found widely in Africa, Europe, W Asia
y Tools were larger, set of typical designs or shapes
y Sharp edges, made by few blows
y Shaped stone by knocking more flakes off most of the edges
y Made from very large flakes that had been struck from very large cores or boulders
y Scrapers w/ edge
y Hand axes- butchering animals, digging
y Bifacial hand axes, cleavers, picks- SE Asia
Big Game Eating
y Use fire to frighten elephants in mud, unable to escape (work cooperatively in large groups)
y Wild cattle, driven into swamps, killed and butchered
y Giant baboons
Control of Fire
y Learned to control fire in freezing winters for warmth (layers of ash)
y Kenya, E Africa- 1.4 MYA:, Swartkans Cave, S Africa (1.5-1 MYA)
y Environmental? Or human induced?
y Cooking food, keeping predators away
y Close to water source, lush vegetation, large stocks of herbivorous animals
y Some camps found in caves, most open areas surrounded by rudimentary
y Displayed variety of tools, centre of main group functions
y Huts
y Hunted. Fished, large, small animals
Religion and Ritual
y Red Ochre (oxidized clay)- rep blood-> life (body decoration, or protection against
y Cannibalism?- ritual consumption of brain
y No certainty what role, if any religion or ritual played in lower Paleolithic culture
y Homo erectus brain is more similar to human brain
y 1.7 MYA homo erectus would have possessed linguistic skills and the ability to manipulate
y Basicranium support a modern capability for language (6 yr old)
y But recent studies have shown that relative brain development of the specimen is more like
that of homo erectus than homo sapiens
Archaic Homo Sapiens
y Archaic Homo Sapiens: specimens of early homo sapiens that are not exactly like
anatomically modern humans and are distinguished as archaic homo sapiens (ex: neandertal)
y Homo Sapiens Sapiens: modern-looking humans, undisputed examples of which appeared
about 50,000 YA; may have appeared earlier
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y Homo Heidelbergensis: classification given by some homo erectus remains from Europe
y Homo Antecessor: a proposed last common ancestor between neandertal and modern
y The common name for the species homo neandertalensis
y Skeletal traits are consistent with Bipedalism
y Sloping foreheads, large brow ridges, flattened braincases, large jaws, nearly absent chins
y Robust/heavily muscled bodies
y Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis: a variety of early homo sapiens
Middle Palaeolithic Cultures
y Middle Palaeolithic: period of cultural history associated with the Neandertals; in Europe and
the near East: 300,000-40,000 YA
y Middle stone age-> middle Palaeolithic
y Tool assemblages from this period: Mousterian (Europe and near East), post-Acheulian
Tool Assemblages
The Mousterian
y Mousterian Tool Assemblage: named after the tool assemblage found in a rock shelter at le
Moustier in the Dordogne region of SW France. Compared with an Acheulian assemblage, the
middle Palaeolithic (40, 000-300,000 YA) Moustier has a smaller proportion of large core
tools such as hand axes and cleavers and a bigger proportion of small flake tools such as
scrapers. Flakes were often altered or retouched by striking small flakes or chips from one or
more edges
y Levalloisian Method: a method that allowed flake tools of a predetermined size to be
produced from a shaped core. The tool maker first shaped the core and prepared a striking
platform at one end. Flakes of predetermined and standard sizes could then be knocked off.
Although some Levalloisian flakes date from as far back as 400,000 YA, they are found more
frequently in Mousterian tool kits
The Post-Acheulian in Africa
y Were struck off prepared cores in the Levalloisian way
y Blades: a thin flake whose length is usually more than twice its width. In the blade technique
of tool making, a core is prepared by shaping a piece of flint with hammer stones into a
pyramidal or cylindral form. Blades are then struck off until the core is used up
y Burin: a chisel-like stone used for carving and far making such artifacts as bine and antler
needles, awls, and projectile points
y In Europe and the Near East- caves, rock shelters
y Sediment: the dust, debris, and decay that accumulates overtime
y Homo sapiens lived at least part of year in caves
y Relied on fire (thick layers of ash in many rock shelters and caves)
Getting Food
y Euro environment: much richer in animal resources (game, oxen, horses, mammoths,
rhinoceros, deer, bears, wolves, foxes, fish etc)
y Africa: shellfish, antelopes, buffalo
Funeral Rituals
y Some Neandertals were deliberately buried- ambiguous evidence
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