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PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY CHAPTER 13 PROFESSOR SOLIS
Pre-Modern Humans § Refers to those hominids that are behaviorally and physiologically like Homo sapiens – § Still significant differences § Still can refer to them as “human” but distinguish them from “modern humans” – “Pre – Modern Humans” § Pre-Modern Humans include Neanderthals and other Homo species
Pre-Modern Humans § Pre-Modern Humans and the Ice Age § Most pre-modern humans lived during the Middle Pleistocene (780, 000 to 125, 000 kya) § Some, like Neanderthal, lived into the Late Pleistocene (125, 000 to 20, 000 kya) § The Pleistocene is called the Ice Age because of dramatic drops in temperature, major advances in continental glaciers, ice accumulation and increase in snow fall. § During the Pleistocene there were interglacial periods – warmer periods § During the Ice Age the glaciations were mostly confined to Europe, Asia, N. America, and Antarctica – the northern latitudes
Pre-Modern Humans Homo heidelbergensis § Dating from 850, 000 to 200, 000 § Named after a fossil found in Germany in 1907 § This is believed to be a transitional species between Homo erectus and modern humans and probably an ancestor to Neanderthals as well § Has been found in Africa, Europe, and possibly Asia (though some argue these specimens are variants of Homo erectus)
Middle Pleistocene Evolution Pre-Modern finds from Africa and Europe resemble each other more than they do hominids from Asia – The African and European finds are referred to as Homo heidelbergensis. It is hypothesized that in Africa, H. heidelbergensis evolved into H. sapiens; in Europe H. Heidelbergensis may have evolved into Neanderthals, and in Asia – there is no consensus- all pre-modern forms might have met with extinction or continued to evolve into modern humans, or where they replaced by an African population?
Middle Pleistocene Tool Technology New Tool Technology Levallois Technique Co-existed with Acheulian technology Less hand axes and more worked flakes Continued living in caves and open air sites, but possible increase use of caves Controlled use of fire Evidence of temporary structures Exploitation of various resources Advanced hunting technology – spears found in 1995 in Schoningen, Germany
Middle Pleistocene Tool Technology § Eight wooden javelins found at Schoningen § 400, 000 to 380, 000 § Measure 6 ft long § Finely crafted – spruce, well balanced § Found with remains of horses
Neanderthals/Neandertals § Neandertals were originally found over a century ago § Originally thought to be the ancestor of Homo sapiens § Some anthropologists still classify them as a “sub species” to humans § Other scientists disagree – see Neandertals as a separate species Homo neanderthalensis § Lived from about 750, 000 to 20, 000 +/- during the last major glaciation § Most specimens have been found in Europe – we have some from western Asia • Early evidence of cannibalism • 9 individuals found in Spain • Scientists have discovered the gene for red hair and fair skin
Neandertal Characteristics § Neandertals had a large brain – larger than H. sapiens today § Average brain size for humans is 1300 to 1400 cm 3 § Neandertal brain size was around 1520 cm 3
Neandertal sites § La Chapelle-aux-Saints -1908 – burial of a 40 year old Neandertal male – purposely buried – grave goods in association (tools and offerings) buried in a flexed position § This individual suffered from osteoarthritis of the spine § Very large brain 1620 cm 3 § Moula-Guercy Cave – clear evidence of cannibalism. Tool cut marks on possibly 6+ individuals, cut marks to extract marrow and the brain. Other animal bones in association processed in the same way (evidence of hammer on anvil tools)
Neanderthal Sites § St. Cesaire and Vindija sites: 33, 000 to 32, 000 ya. § Have anatomically modern humans living in close proximity § Borrowed tool technology from modern humans § New technology: Chatelperronian § Upper Paleolithic tool industry found in France and Spain – mostly blade tools.
Neanderthal Sites § Israel § Tabun – Excavated in the 1930’s § Female skeleton § Dated by thermoluminescence (TL) 120, 000 -110, 000 ya § Contemporaries with H. sapiens found in nearby caves
Neanderthal Sites § Kebara Cave § Partial skeleton, dated to 60, 000 ya § Complete Neanderthal thorax and pelvis and a hyoid bone – first ever found § Reconstruction of language capabilities among Neanderthals
Tool Technology § Mousterian Tools– associated with Neandertals and some modern H. sapien groups – more flake like tools § Shows up during the Middle Paleolithic § Mousterian culture spread across Europe, N. Africa, former Soviet Union, Israel, Iran, Uzbekistan and possibly China § Specialized tools for skinning and preparing meat, hunting, and wood working. § Neandertals subject to head and neck trauma – similar to modern rodeo performers (trampling by ungulates) § Hunting in close contact
Speech and Symbolic Behavior When did full human language emerge? Debated by scientists for decades Did Neandertals have the capacity for speech? Some believe that speech played a role in H. sapiens dominating and eradicating Neandertals? A new find indicates that Neandertals and humans share the same version of a gene, FOXP 2, which contributes to advanced language. The finding suggests that Neandertals might have talked like modern humans. Illustration courtesy U. S. Department of Energy Genome Programs
Lingering Questions mt. DNA extracted from Neandertal specimens indicate that they are genetically different from modern H. sapien populations Suggested divergence with modern H. sapien ancestors around 690, 000 to 550, 000 ya. See DNA patterns that are different from modern humans Though considered a separate species, some argue that they were not a completely separate biological species and had the capacity to interbreed with modern humans Was this likely- given high degree of geographic isolation?
Lingering Questions… § 2010 Sequencing of European Neanderthal Genome § Conclusion: that some interbreeding with H. sapiens did occur (80, 000 -50, 000 ya)
Conclusion § Middle Pleistocene (780, 000 to 125, 000) § Period of great transition in human evolution § Transitional hominids that are closer in relationship to modern humans than earlier forms – Pre -Modern Humans § Homo heidelbergensis § Neandertals exist well into the Late Pleistocene (20, 000 ya) § Most scientists consider Neandertals a side branch of human evolution