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Chapter 7

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Trent University
ANTH 1010H
Jocelyn Williams

Anthro Chapter 7: The Origin of Modern Humans What is a Modern Human? - The term modern humans refers to the members of the species Homo sapiens, which includes all living humans - Most of the genetic variation in living humans is found within single populations rather than between populations. The low genetic variation in modern humans reflects a relatively recent common ancestry. - The anatomical traits that define Homo sapiens are characteristic of all living human populations Early Modern Humans in Africa - The oldest known fossil of a modern human was discovered at the site of Herto, Ethiopia, and was dated to between 160 and 154,000 years ago - Fossils of modern humans dated to between 120 and 70,000 years ago have been discovered at the South African sites of Klasies River Mouth and Border Cave - The middle stone age refers to the archaeological period of the earliest modern humans in Africa. The middle stone age began between 300- and 200,000 years ago and ended around 40,000 years ago - The middle stone age includes a number of distinct industries, including the Aterian, Sangoan/Lupemban, and the Howieson’s Poort - The technology of stone tool manufacture in the Middle Stone Age in Africa has many similarities to that of the European Middle Palaeolithic - Some types of tools have been found in the Middle Stone Age that are absent from the Middle Palaeolithic - Bone harpoons have been found at the middle stone age site of Katanda, in the DMC - The use of marine resources is rare on Neanderthal sites - At Blombos Cave, a piece of ochre with incised decoration was found in a middle stone age level dated to 77,000 years ago - Untangling the significance of the simple pattern of lines found at blombos cave remains one of the most difficult challenges facing Palaeolithic archaeologists - Comparing the middle stone age to the middle Palaeolithic o In both cases: 1. Stone tools were made mostly using a prepared core technology 2. There is variability between stone tool industries 3. Evidence supports both hunting and the intensive use of fire o Among the differences is:  The amount of variability in the middle stone age stone tool industries is greater than that found in their middle Palaeolithic counterparts  In the middle stone age there are elaborate bone tools, as well as clear evidence of fishing and collecting shellfish  There is evidence of artwork in the middle stone age Early Modern Humans in the Middle East - Modern human skeletons have been found in the middle Palaeolithic levels of Qafzeh and Skhul Caves in Israel - There is little that distinguishes the archaeological material found at Qafzeh and Skhul from the remains found on the Neanderthal sites in the middle east - The chronological relationship between Neanderthals and modern humans in the region cannot be determined on the basis of stratigraphy - Skhul and Qafzeh date from between 120- and 80,000 years ago, while most of the Neanderthal sites produced dates that cluster in the range between 60- and 50,000 years ago. - Neanderthals were not primitive precursors of modern humans, but rather a population that evolved parallel to them The Arrival of Modern Humans in Europe and the Fate of the Neanderthals - The Upper Palaeolithic is the archaeological period that saw the earliest occupation of Europe by modern humans. The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition is marked by a dramatic change in material culture - Multiregional hypothesis o Neanderthals evolved locally into modern humans as the result of a continuous gene flow between European and African populations - Out of Africa hypothesis o Neanderthal populations in Europe were replaced by invading populations of modern humans - Hybridization hypothesis o Neanderthals “disappeared” as a result of substantial interbreeding between populations. The archaeological transition is seen as the result of interaction between Neanderthals and modern humans - The fossil evidence appears to be increasingly supportive of the Out of Africa position - At the site of St. Césaire in France, a Neanderthal was found and dated to 36,000 years ago - The earliest modern human remains in Europe, found in Pestera cu Oase Cave in Romania, date to 36,000 years ago - The skeleton of a modern human child discovered at Abrigo Lagar Velho in Portugal and dating to 24,500 years ago is thought by some to support the hybridization mod
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