ANTHR101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Human Taxonomy, Homo Erectus, Homo Sapiens

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Published on 14 Mar 2014
School
University of Alberta
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTHR101
Chapter 7: THE EMERGENCE OF HOMOSAPIENS
- HOMO SAPIENS perhaps 160 kya
- completely modern human looking beings, HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS, appeared 50 kya
- most paleoanthropologists agree that homo erectus evolved into homo sapiens, but how and
where this happened is in great debate.
HOMO HEIDELBERGENSIS
- controversial "transitional" species (or not) between homo erectus and homo sapien
smaller teeth and jaws
much larger brains (1300 cc)
skull lacks sagittal keel and occipital torus
more robust skeleton
browridge that divides into separate arches above each eye
NEANDERTALS: HOMO SAPIENS OR HOMO NEANDERTALENSIS?
- disagreement about how to classify mixed-trait fossils from 500-200 kya
- for neandertal fossils after 200kya huge argument about whether they are a distinct species
(homo neandertalensis), some argue they are homo sapiens
more robust skeleton
a little shorter
larger brains on average than modern humans
almost no chin
swet back cheek bones
occipital bun
rounded orbits
massive face with much larger nasal opening
- mtDNA examinations suggest modern humans and acestors diverged from a common ancestor
roughly 600 kya
- so new information seems to confirm that we were different species though there may have
been modest interbreeding.
- these two types of hominid clearly existed at one and the same time, coexisting.
- caves in mount carmel region contain both modern human and neandertal occupations.
- the fact that these two groups coinhabited teh near east for perhaps as much as 30,000 years and
didn't interbreed much or share much in the way of tool technology stronly suggest that the two
are different species.
MIDDLE PALEOLITHIC CULTURES
- period associated with the Neandertals is traditionally called the MIDDLE PALEOLITHIC.
400-300kya
- in Africa the term used is MIDDLE STONE AGE instead of middle paleolithic
THE TOOLS THAT DEFINE THE MIDDLE PALEOLITHIC:
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in European regions : MOUSTERIAN
in near-East and th eAfrican regions: POST - ACHEULIAN
MOUSTERIAN
- compared with Acheulian assemblage, Mousteriean tools have smaller proportion of large core
tools such as hand axes and cleavers and a bigger proportion of small flake tools such as
scrapers.
- before, the flakes struck from the core were used 'as-is'. Mousterian has flakes that are often
altered or 'retouched' even finer
- used for scraping hides or working wood
- that many were thinned or shaped on only one side suggests they were attached (or "hafted")
to a shaft or handle.
- LEVALLOISIAN METHOD - flakes of predetermined and standard sizes could be knocked off
a core. found more frequently in the Mousterian toolkit.
POST-ACHEULIAN
- like Mousterian, many of these tools were struck off prepared cores in the Levalloisian way.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE. doesn't really say.
HOMESITES
- Caves and rock shelters over represtented in the archaeological record because tehy are more
likely to be found than open sites.
- middle paleolithic humans seem to have relied more on fire that their predecessors
- at the Moldova site there had been river valley houses framed with wood and covered with
animal skins. bones of mammoths apparently helped hold the skins in place.
RITUALS
- at Drachenloch cave in the Swiss Alps, a stone-lined pit holding the stacked skulls of seven
cave bears was found in association with a Neandertal habitation. Why preserve these skulls?
rituals to placate or control bears?
- impossible to say whether or not neandertals engaged in ritual behaviour. we hang antlers and
such in our homes too without strong ritual overtones
THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN HUMANS
CRO-MAGNON HUMANS
- appear in western Europe about 35,000 years ago.
- once thought to be earliest homo sapiens sapiens.
- we now know that modern looking humans appeared earlier outside of Europe
* the oldest unambiguous fossils classified as HOMO SAPIENS come from ETHIOPIA and
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date to perhaps 160,000 years ago.
cromagnon man differed from neandertals:
higher more bulging foreheads
thinner lighter bones
smaller faces and jaws
chins (the bony protuberances that remain after projecting faces recedes)
only slight browridges (or none at all)
THEORIES ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF MODERN HUMANS
SINGLE-ORIGIN THEORY
- neandertals did not evolve into modern humans
- neandertals were rather replaced by modern humans around 30,000 ya
- think that originally small pop of h. sapiens sapiens had some bio or cultural advantage that
allowed them to spread and replace neandertals
- evidence from mitochondrial dna analysis points to modern human origins in East Africa and a
subsequent spread out of that region
- similar analysis of the Y chromosome present only in men reflects findings of mtDNA anayses.
- the mtDNA studies also show that the most recent shared ancestor of peoples as far flung as
new guinae, africa, etc. is 200,000 years ago whereas the Y chromosome studies show 100,000
ya
MULTIREGIONAL THEORY
- believes Homo Erectus pops in various parts of the old world gradually evolved into
anatomically modern looking humans.
- believe that homo erectus should be homo sapiens erectus, see too much anatomical continuity
to imagine it being a different species
- homo erectus fossils in different territories of earth have notable differences
- multiregional theorists believed that homo erectus populations the world over developed into
homo sapiens where they were, not homo sapiens spreading out from africa and supplanting the
homo erectus populations
(my thought: perhaps homo sapiens spread from africa and mated into the homo erectus
populations native to the regions they went, especially if they were in fact a compatible species)
- purport that the data found in mtDNA analyses may only support the common emigration of
original homo erectus populations, not homo sapiens sapiens. this would mean that the accepted
rates of mutation in both mtDNA and Y chro,osome are wrong. that both mutate much more
slowly than currently thought.
INTERMEDIATE THEORIES
- maybe there was some replacement of one pop by another, some local continuous evolution,
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Document Summary

Completely modern human looking beings, homo sapiens sapiens, appeared 50 kya. Most paleoanthropologists agree that homo erectus evolved into homo sapiens, but how and where this happened is in great debate. Controversial transitional species (or not) between homo erectus and homo sapien. Skull lacks sagittal keel and occipital torus. Browridge that divides into separate arches above each eye. Disagreement about how to classify mixed-trait fossils from 500-200 kya. For neandertal fossils after 200kya huge argument about whether they are a distinct species (homo neandertalensis), some argue they are homo sapiens. Larger brains on average than modern humans. Massive face with much larger nasal opening. Mtdna examinations suggest modern humans and acestors diverged from a common ancestor roughly 600 kya. So new information seems to confirm that we were different species though there may have been modest interbreeding. These two types of hominid clearly existed at one and the same time, coexisting.

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