Neanderthal and Emergence of Mind
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Neanderthal and Emergence of Mind What it means to be Human. Readings: Scarre Chapter 1, Also: pages 55,59,74-75, and Chapter 4. 6 million years of human development in one class period. Comparative morphology Bipedalism Neanderthal evolution Dating technology.

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  • Neanderthal and Emergence of Mind

  • What it means to be Human.

  • Readings: Scarre Chapter 1, Also: pages 55,59,74-75, and Chapter 4

6 million years of human development in one class period

Comparative morphology


Neanderthal evolution

Dating technology

Paradigms of imagery: what is a Neanderthal?

Modern Humans

Humanity: What is it?

Key topics

Comparison of Chimp and human skeletal structure

Examines skeletal structures


Craniometrics: skull development


Humans do not descend from chimps, but we are distant cousins with an ancient common primate ancestor.

Comparative morphology




Leatoli (see Scarre 59)

The issue of bipedal locomotion.

In the old model: human ancestors evolved large brains, invented tools, then became bipedal as they came to depend on tools…the “smart ape hypothesis.”

Considerable evidence supports the hypothesis that bipedalism was well established 4.6 million years ago, before tools and large brains… upright ape hypothesis”

Leatoli evidence

  • Anatomically human foot, knee, pelvis, posture, teeth, and hand evolved long before large brains or human-like facial structures.

  • Proto-human creatures were bipedal 4.6 mya and probably earlier.

Sexual dimorphism in Australopithecus.

4 million years ago.





The oldest known manufactured tools are dated at 2.6-2 m.y.a.,

Found in various parts of Africa, and are grouped under the name Oldowan pebble tools, given them by the Leakeys in 1931.

The Pleistocene (2 m.y.a. to 10,000 B.P.) is the epoch of human life.

Lower Pleistocene (2 to 1 m.y.a.): Australopithecus and early Homo

Middle Pleistocene (1 m.y.a. to 130,000 B.P.): Homo erectus and archaic Homo sapiens

Upper Pleistocene (130,000 to 10,000 B.P.): modern Homo sapiens




Fission tracking



Tuff correlations

Relative dating

Dating technologies


  • Was Neanderthal a separate species of human or something else?

  • Could Neanderthal and archaic humans interbreed? Latest DNA study (2010) suggests yes—we all have a little Neanderthal in us.

  • What became of Neanderthal?

  • Did Neanderthal exhibit human behaviors?

  • Biggest question: what does it mean to be human?

Direct line model.

No longer considered valid.

H. sapien sapiens

H. sapiens (archaic)

H. neanderthal

H. erectus

Homo habilis

Australopithicus (all species)

Branching tree model.

The French

H. Sapiens sapiens

H. Neanderthal

H. habilis

H. Sapiens (archaic)

H. erectus


H. Florensis (“hobbits”)


Direct ancestor

H. sapien

H. neanderthal


H. neanderthal

Cousin, no overlap

H. sapien


H. neanderthal

H. sapien

Not close enough to be same species, overlap


Key elements of cranial morphology


Homo sapien

(minus lower jaw)

Changing images

  • New data and new sensibilities have inspired a rethinking about Neanderthal.

  • Forensic science has changed our perception of physical appearances (phenotype).

  • Archaeological data has changed view about Neanderthal life.

  • mtDNA suggests greater split in time from archaic humans

Neanderthal as frat boy run amok.

Brutish behavior considered Neanderthal.

Skeletal remains of child with Neanderthal traits, Portugal, 30,000 years old.


Neanderthal (?) child

Modern child

Is this the face of a 30,000 year old Neanderthal/Human hybrid?

Theory of human migration: origins of modern humans

  • Two competing hypotheses currently debated. These hypotheses will be affected by new DNA research.

  • Out of Africa 1 and Out of Africa 2 (next week)

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