Chapter Learning Objectives

What Is So Modern About Modern Humans?

  • Describe the anatomical characteristics that differentiate modern from archaic hominids.

Modern Homo sapiens: Single Origin and Global Dispersal or Regional Continuity?

  • Describe the two main hypotheses of modern humans’ origins and illustrate these models in chart form.

What Do Homo sapiens Fossils Tell Us About Modern Human Origins?

  • Describe the similarities and differences between early archaic Homo sapiens in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
  • Catalogue the evidence for cannibalism among hominids.
  • Describe the dietary adaptations in early archaic Homo sapiens.
  • Describe the unique anatomical features of the Neandertals. Discuss why and how these features might have arisen in the course of human evolution.
  • Describe the “Neandertal world” in terms of landscape, climate, and dietary practices.
  • Provide specific examples contradicting early paleoanthropologists’ assumption that Neandertals were brutish and stupid.
  • Describe the biology and behavior of the first modern humans.
  • Identify where the Cro-Magnon remains fit into the picture of human evolution.

How Has the Biological Variation in Fossil Homo sapiens Been Interpreted?

  • Discuss the evidence for and against both the Out of Africa and the Multiregional Continuity models of modern human evolution.
  • Describe the latest findings in DNA analysis of Neandertals.
  • Provide two explanations for the genetic diversity seen in Africa.

Assimilation Model for Modern Human Variation: Neandertals Are Still With Us

  • Describe the Assimilation Model and how it is similar to and different from the Out of Africa and Multiregional Continuity models.

Modern Humans’ Other Migrations: Colonization of Australia, the Pacific, and the Americas

  • Discuss the evidence for human migration to Australia and the Pacific islands.
  • Situate the recently discovered Homo floresiensis within the path of human evolution.
  • Evaluate the evidence for how and when people showed up in the Americas.
  • Describe the anatomical features of Kennewick Man’s cranium. Compare them to the features of modern Native Americans and Europeans.