Chapter Study Outline

1. What’s So Modern about Modern Humans?

a. Modern humans are different from archaic humans.

b. Skeletal traits: round, tall skull with vertical forehead, small brow ridges, and small face and teeth with a more gracile postcranial skeleton characteristic of modern humans.

c. Some hominid skeletons have a mixture of archaic and modern traits (Skhul 5).

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

a. Evolution of modern humans began about 350,000 yBP with emergence of archaic forms.

b. First modern Homo sapiens appeared in Africa, 200,000 yBP.

c. Two main hypotheses

i. Out of Africa

(1) Modern Homo sapiens evolved in Africa, and then spread to Asia and Europe, where modern humans replaced the populations there.

ii. Multiregional Continuity

(1) The shift to modern humans took place regionally and did not involve replacement.

3. What Do Homo sapiens Fossils Tell Us about Modern Human Origins?

a. Early Archaic Homo sapiens

i. Archaic Homo sapiens in Africa (350,000–200,000 yBP)

(1) Kabwe (Broken Hill)

ii. Early Archaic Homo sapiens in Asia (350,000–130,000 yBP)

(1) Ngandong (Java)

iii. Early Archaic Homo sapiens in Europe (350,000–130,000 yBP)

(1) Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca)

iv. Early Archaic Homo sapiens’ Dietary Adaptations

(1) Same tools and material technology as Homo erectus but diverse materials

(2) Reduction of dental complex with tool use

b. Late Archaic Homo sapiens

i. Late Archaic Homo sapiens in Asia (60,000–40,000 yBP)

(1) Neandertals found in Amud, Kebara, and Tabun

(2) Shanidar site best known; several individuals with interesting life histories seen in their skeletons

ii. Late Archaic Homo sapiens in Europe (130,000–30,000 yBP)

(1) Krapina Neandertals, Vindija

(a) Cannibalism

iii. The Neandertal Body Plan: Aberrant or Adapted?

(1) La Chapelle-aux-Saints studied first by Boule

(a) Boule influenced thinking about the Neandertals

(b) Thought Neandertals had bent-kneed gait

(c) Thought Neandertals were primitive and stupid

(2) Cold adaptation of Neandertals

(a) Large nasal aperture

(b) Large infraorbital foramina

(c) Stocky build, short limbs

iv. Neandertal Hunting: Inefficient or Successful?

(1) Established Mousterian tool tradition

(2) Butchered animal bones found

(3) Animals processed for food

(4) Chemical evidence indicates importance of meat in diet.

v. Neandertals Buried Their Dead

(1) European, western Asian sites indicate burial; others do not.

(2) Spy, La Chapelle-aux-Saints, Amud, Tabun, also individuals from Shanidar

vi. Neandertals Talked

(1) Some argue Neandertals could not produce range of sound necessary for language.

(2) Kebara hyoid bone suggests that Neandertals could talk.

c. Early Modern Homo sapiens

c. Early Modern Homo sapiens

i. Early Modern Homo sapiens in Africa (200,000–6,000 yBP)

(1) Herto, Aduma, Awash Valley, Omo

ii. Klasies River Mouth Cave, Hofmeyr

iii. Early Modern Homo sapiens in Asia (90,000–18,000 yBP)

(1) Skhul, Tianyuan Cave, Zhoukoudian

iv. Early Modern Homo sapiens in Europe (35,000–15,000 yBP)

(1) Oase, Predmostí, Dolni Vestnice

d. Modern Behavioral and Cultural Transitions Happened First in Africa

i. Painting, hunting, fishing, tool production, jewelry

ii. Once thought these originated in Europe

iii. At Katanda (Africa) catfish remains found from as early as 75,000 yBP

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

a. Ancient DNA: Interbreeding between Neandertals and Early Modern People?

i. Overlap in dates between Homo sapiens and Neandertals suggests coexistence, interbreeding.

ii. Supports “out of Africa” model

b. Living People’s Genetic Record: Settling the Debate on Modern Humans’ Origins

i. Neandertals and early modern people

(1) mtDNA shows similarity between Neandertals and dissimilarity with modern humans.

(2) Lack of samples, time depth leading challenges to DNA analysis and interpretation.

ii. Genetic records

(1) Rebecca Cann and colleagues found sub-Saharan populations more genetically diverse than other populations.

(2) Two possible explanations

(a) Populations have been in existence longer, so have more genetic mutations.

(b) Large population sizes influence genetic diversity, where larger populations have more diversity than smaller populations.

5. Assimilation Model for Modern Human Variation: Neandertals Are Still with Us

a. Discordance in the fossil and genetic record suggests that current models do not adequately explain modern human origins.

b. Neandertals contributed to modern gene pool in Europe and Asia.

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

a. Initial spread of population out of Africa, into Asia and Europe

b. Spread to other parts of the world