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Chapter 12

ANT101H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Homo Sapiens Idaltu, Anatomically Modern Human, Upper Paleolithic

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Heather Miller

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Notes From Reading
Learning Objectives
Describe the time frame and geographic locations for the earliest evidence of odern humans in Africa as well
as elsewhere in the Old World
Compare the different models accounting for the origin and dispersal of modern humans and evaluate how
fossil and genetic evidence support these models
Explain from the archaeological evidence how and why modern human behavior in the Upper Paleolithic
differed from that of their Middle Paleolithic predecessors
Probably close to 200,000 ya, the first modern Homo sapiens populations appeared in Africa
150,000 years or so, their descendant had spread across most of the Old World, even expanding as far as
African populations of H. heidelbergensis are the most likely ancestors of the earliest modern H. sapiens
The Upper Paleolithic period begins in western Europe around 40,000 ya and ends roughly 10,000 ya
By 12,000-10,000 ya, the technology of Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers was a diverse and effective as that
of historically documented hunter-gatherers
Approaches to Understanding Modern Human Origins
The regional continuity model and various versions of replacement models are the two models that attempt to
organize and explain modern human origins
The Regional Continuity Model: Multiregional Evolution
Suggest that local populations (not all) in Europe, Asia and Africa continued their indigenous evolutionary
development from premodern Middle Pleistocene forms to anatomically modern humans
People question: how could anatomically modern humans arise separately in different continents and end up
so much alike, both physically and genetically?
This multiregional model answers this question by:
o Denying that the earliest modern H. sapien populations originated exclusively in Africa
o Asserting that significant levels of gene flow (migration) between various geographically desired
premodern populations were extremely likely throughout the Pleistocene
Advocates of the multiregional model recognize that a strong influence of modern humans evolving first in
Replacement Models
Replacement models all emphasize that modern humans first evolved in Africa and only later dispersed to
other parts of the world
Two versions of such replacement models have been proposed
o The first emphasizing complete replacement
The complete replacement model proposes that anatomically modern populations arose in Africa within the
last 200,000 years, then migrated from Africa, replacing populations in Europe and Asia
o This model doesn’t account for a transition from premodern forms to modern H. sapiens anywhere in
the world except Africa
Migrating African modern H. sapiens could not have interbred with local non-African populations, because the
African modern humans were a biologically different species
Most molecular data come from contemporary species, since DNA is not usually preserved in long-dead
We can conclude that some interbreeding took place between Neandertals and modern humans, arguing
against complete replacement and supporting some form of partial replacement
Partial Replacement Models
New findings from DNA analysis further confirm that the degree of interbreeding was modest, ranging from 1
to 4 percent in modern populations outside Africa
Contemporary Africans have no trace of Neandertal genes, suggesting that any interbreeding occurred after
modern humans migrated out of Africa
Tentative conclusion from these preliminary findings suggests that the interbreeding occurred soon after
modern humans emigrated out of Africa
In tropical areas, DNA degrades rapidly; so it seems a long shot that any usable DNA can be obtained from
hominins that lived in many extremely large and significant regions
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