anthro101lec15.feb13.y08 - ANTHROPOLOGY 101 LECTURE 15...

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ANTHROPOLOGY 101 02.13.08 LECTURE 15 Becoming Human 2 I. 1. Fire: The use of fire raises the stakes for a number of behaviors that impact on social life--think, for one thing, of how pleasant it is to hang around a fire at night, the social interactions that occur --> but also important for cooking and warmth --> the earliest evidence for human use of fire for cooking comes from South Africa and dates from 1 to 1.3 million years ago (these are from evidence of burned bones, the cracks of which reveal temperatures higher than natural fire will produce); undisputed fire pits date from 700,000 years ago from a site in Thailand 2. Shelter: Did Homo erectus build shelters and have a sense of “home” comparable to our own? The jury is out--no doubt some populations, especially at the early years, hung out in trees at night--a safe place to sleep, after all. --> earliest evidence of constructed shelters dates from just 400,000 years ago from Terra Amata in France--this is at the later end of the period for H. erectus and is thought to be the remains of a hunting camp; demonstrates that (if it was indeed H. erectus ) that this species definitely had the capacity to build shelters and occupy them --> sense of home life still up in the air; likely that H. Erectus had a sense of territory but the extent to which they ranged around in that territory is unknown 3. Symbol: Again, arguable about whether H. Erectus or some other species of Homo is responsible, but evidence of designs and “symbolic” uses of color emerge in the neighborhood of 300,000 yrs ago --> earliest rock carvings date from this period (India) --> evidence of colored pigment used on human bones (on all 3 continents) --> scrapings of design on animal bone (ox ribs in France) 1
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ANTHROPOLOGY 101 02.13.08 LECTURE 15 Becoming Human 2 II. Geographic spread A. There is no question but that East Africa was the incubator of humanity for the saga of evolutionary history from Australopithecus through Homo erectus --all hominid species up to this point clearly originate in this area--this is where all the evolutionary action is B. With H. erectus , however, we get the first spread of our genus out of Africa--this is likely to have occurred some 1.5 to 2 million yrs ago --> and the spread was to every major region of the Old World not covered by ice. --> H. erectus remains are the first of our genus to be found in a variety of ecosystems, from the tropics and savannah to the temperate regions near the glaciated regions of Europe and northern China; from here to Indonesia and, of course, Africa --> interesting, by the way, that the Acheulean technologies we associate with Homo erectus are not characteristic of this whole area; India and SE Asian technologies are far less reliant on stone--very likely making use of bamboo --> evidence for the first time of the same species using different adaptive strategies in different environments --> in other words, a decoupling of survival strategies from morphological
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2008 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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anthro101lec15.feb13.y08 - ANTHROPOLOGY 101 LECTURE 15...

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