BILD 3 - Lecture 21

BILD 3 - Lecture 21 - An artists reconstruction of H....

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An artist’s reconstruction of H. floresiensis .
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The best-preserved skull of H. floresiensis , dated to about 18,000 years ago, compared with a modern human skull. Pygmy mammals are common on islands, where a shortage of food needed to provide for a high metabolic rate provides an advantage to small body size. These little H. floresiensis , who were only three feet tall, were apparently subject to the same selective pressures. But were their ancestors H. erectus or were they modern humans, or were they another group that made its way independently from Africa? Careful measurements of their brain cavities, through three-dimensional CAT scans of the skulls, showed that their brains were clearly different from ours, and that their overall shape resembled that of the brain of H. erectus . But their brains had enlarged frontal and parietal lobes, strongly suggesting higher cognitive functions and perhaps even the ability to speak. The Neanderthals These heavy-boned people lived in Europe and the Middle East. Most of the Neanderthal remains have now been dated by a wide variety of techniques to between 100,000 and 27,000 years ago. They were recently replaced by people more like ourselves in appearance, including the Cro-Magnon peoples and other
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early immigrants to Europe from the Middle East. Neanderthals did not suddenly appear in Europe 100,000 years ago, however. A less well-known and very diverse group of people, collectively known as the pre-Neanderthals, inhabited Europe before that time, and the earliest remains of these peoples, found in northern Spain, may date to over a million years ago. Left, a fairly complete Neanderthal skull (La Ferrassie), more complete than the one that was found in the Neander Valley. Right, the skull of a modern Cro-Magnon from about the same time. Note the sloping forehead and projecting brow-ridges of the Neanderthal. The Neanderthals disappeared from Europe about 27,000 years ago, and the Cro-Magnons first appeared there about 40,000 years ago. These two groups of humans coexisted in Europe for at least 13,000 years, but eventually the Cro-Magnons, joined by other peoples who were also like ourselves in appearance, replaced the Neanderthals throughout Europe. A recent find of burnt wood and burn-pitted flints in what are apparently a pair of ancient hearths in a million-year-old deposit in Israel suggests that the use of fire dates to at least that time and may have enabled the pre-Neanderthals to colonize the cold European north from their origins in the Middle East. Recent discoveries suggest that both the pre-Neanderthals and the Neanderthals had quite elaborate cultures. Wooden throwing spears have been found, associated with stone tools and butchered horse bones, in a layer of a peat
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bog dated to 400,000 years ago. These spears are by far the oldest wooden artifacts known from anywhere in the world. Pierced teeth and other ivory artifacts and stone tools have been associated with the most recent Neanderthal
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This note was uploaded on 06/10/2010 for the course BILD 3 taught by Professor Wills during the Spring '07 term at UCSD.

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BILD 3 - Lecture 21 - An artists reconstruction of H....

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