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Chapter 13 Premodern Humans
Chapter Outline • • When, Where and What Premodern Humans of the Middle Pleistocene A Review of Middle Pleistocene Evolution Middle Pleistocene Culture
The Pleistocene • • • The Pleistocene, often called the Ice Age, was marked by advances and retreats of massive continental glaciations. -At least 15 major and 50 minor glacial advances have been documented in Europe. -Hominids were impacted as the climate, flora, and animal life shifted. Middle Pleistocene (780, 000– 125, 000 y. a. ) Upper Pleistocene (125, 000– 10, 000 y. a. )
Interglacials • • Climatic intervals when continental ice sheets are retreating, eventually becoming much reduced in size. Interglacials in northern latitudes are associated with warmer temperatures, while in southern latitudes the climate becomes wetter.
Glaciations • • Climatic intervals when continental ice sheets cover much of the northern continents. Glaciations are associated with colder temperatures in northern latitudes and more arid conditions in southern latitudes, most notably in Africa.
Changing Pleistocene Environments in Africa
Changing Pleistocene Environments in Eurasia
Homo heidelbergensis skull from Zambia • • The Kabwe (Broken Hill) Homo heidelbergensis skull from Zambia. Note the very heavy supraorbital torus.
Earliest Evidence of Homo Heidelbergensis in Africa • Bodo cranium, the earliest evidence of Homo heidelbergensis in Africa.
Key Middle Pleistocene Premodern Human (H. heidelbergensis) Fossils from Europe Site Dates (y. a. ) Human Remains Arago (Tautavel, France) 400, 000– 300, 000; date uncertain Atapuerca (Sima de los Huesos, northern Spain) 320, 000– 190, 000, probably 300, 000 Face; parietal perhaps from same person; many cranial fragments; up to 23 individuals represented Minimum of 28 individuals, including some nearly complete crania
Fossil Discoveries of Middle Pleistocene Premodern Hominids.
Crania from China • • (a) Dali skull and (b) Jinniushan skull, both from China. These two crania are considered by some to be Asian representatives of Homo heidelbergensis.
Time line of Middle Pleistocene hominids.
Review of Middle Pleistocene Evolution (400, 000 -125, 000 y. a. ) • • • Like the erects/sapiens mix in Africa and China, fossils from Europe exhibit traits from both species. Fossils from each continent differ, but the physical differences are not extraordinary. There is a definite increase in brain size and a change in the shape of the skull.
Middle Pleistocene Tools • • • African and European archaics invented the Levallois technique for tool making. Acheulian tools are associated with hand axes. Different tool traditions coexist in some areas.
The Levallois Technique
Culture of Neandertals • • Neandertals, who lived in the cultural period known as the Middle Paleolithic, are almost always associated with the Mousterian industry. In the early part of the last glacial period, Mousterian culture extended across Europe and North Africa into the former Soviet Union, Israel, Iran, and as far east as Uzbekistan and perhaps even China.
Culture of Neandertals • Neandertals improved on previous preparedcore techniques by inventing a new variation. -They trimmed a flint nodule around the edges to form a disk-shaped core. -Each time they struck the edge, they produced a flake, continuing this way until the core became too small and was discarded. -They then trimmed the flakes into various forms, such as scrapers, points, and knives.
Morphology and Variation in Neandertal Crania
Fossil Discoveries of Neandertals
Settlements • • • People of the Mousterian culture lived in open sites, caves, and rock shelters. Windbreaks of poles and skin were placed at the cave opening for protection against severe weather. Fire was used for cooking, warmth, light, and keeping predators at bay.
Excavation of the Tabun Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel
Shanidar 1 • • • Among the individuals buried at Shanidar cave is the skeleton of a onearmed, partially blind, crippled man. He could not have hunted or gathered food on his own. Some believe his survival is proof of Neandertal compassion and humanity
Subsistence • • • Remains of animal bones demonstrate that Neandertals were successful hunters. Used close-proximity spears for hunting (spear thrower and bow and arrow weren’t invented until the Upper Paleolithic). Patterns of trauma in Neandertal remains match those of contemporary rodeo performers, indicating close proximity to prey.
Symbolic Behavior • • Prevailing consensus has been that Neandertals were capable of articulate speech. Even if Neandertals did speak, they did not have the same language capabilities of modern Homo sapiens.
Burials • • • Neanderthals buried their dead. Their burials included grave goods like animal bones and stone tools. They placed the bodies of their dead in a flexed position.
Key Neandertal Fossil Discoveries Site Dates (y. a. ) Human Remains Vindija (Croatia) 42, 000– 28, 000 35 specimens; cranial fragments La Chapelle (France) 50, 000 Nearly complete male skeleton Shanidar (Iraq) 70, 000– 60, 000 9 partial skeletons Tabun (Israel) 110, 000 date uncertain 2 or 3 individuals, almost complete female skeleton Krapina (Croatia) 125, 000 – 120, 000 Up to 40 individuals, fragmentary
Cultural Contrasts: Neandertals and Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans Neandertals Tool Technology Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans Numerous flake tools; few, however, apparently for highly specialized functions; use of bone, antler, or ivory very rare; relatively few tools with more than one or two parts Many more varieties of stone tools; many apparently for specialized functions; frequent use of bone, antler, and ivory; many more tools comprised of two or more component parts
Cultural Contrasts: Neandertals and Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans Neandertals Hunting Efficiency and Weapons Stone Material Transport Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans No long-distance Use of spear-thrower and bow hunting weapons; and arrow; wider range of close-proximity social contacts, permitting weapons used more organized hunting (more likelihood of parties injury) Stone materials transported only short distances Stone tool raw materials transported over longer distances, implies wider social networks and trade
Cultural Contrasts: Neandertals and Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans Artwork uncommon; Artwork much more small; mostly of a common, including personal nature; some transportable objects as well items misinterpreted as as elaborate cave art; well “art”; others may be executed, using a variety of intrusive from overlying materials and techniques; Upper Paleolithic stylistic sophistication contexts; cave art absent Neandertals Art
Cultural Contrasts: Neandertals and Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans Neandertals Burial Upper Paleolithic Modern Humans Deliberate burial at several sites; graves unelaborated; graves frequently lack artifacts Burials much more complex, frequently including both tools and remains of animals
Phylogeny of genus Homo
Phylogeny of genus Homo
Three Major Evolutionary Transitions 1. 2. 3. Transition from early Homo to H. erectus. Geographically limited to Africa and occurred rapidly. Transition of H. erectus grading into early H. sapiens. Not geographically limited, but occurred slowly and unevenly. Transition from Archaic H. sapiens to anatomically modern H. sapiens.