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The Human Transition. 2 million years ago. Bipedal hominids with specialized teeth and expanded brains were walking around East Africa Some made artifacts out of wood, stone, bone, and they used fire Females played active roles

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2 million years ago
2 million years ago
  • Bipedal hominids with specialized teeth and expanded brains were walking around East Africa
  • Some made artifacts out of wood, stone, bone, and they used fire
  • Females played active roles
  • Perhaps the first food sharing happened between mother and child
homo species
Homo Species
  • Early Homo brains range from 510 to 75ocm cubed
  • Cranium has thinner bone and is more rounded
  • Face is flatter
  • Teeth and jaws are less rugged
  • Includes: Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo ergaster, Homo floresiensis
earliest evidence of culture
Earliest Evidence of Culture
  • Stone tools are the greatest evidence we have, some 2.5 million years old!
  • Bone and tool evidence shows that rather than hunting for meat, early humans scavenged carcasses killed by carnivores
homo erectus
Homo erectus
  • Coexisted in eastern Africa with other primate species
  • They were here 1.8 million years ago up until 500,000 years ago
  • Brain capacity was around 1000cm cubed
  • Started to migrate out of Africa (went towards Russia and China)
  • The oldest fossil is a skeleton of a boy that is 1.7 million years old
  • He was tall and slim, and probably hairless so that he could sweat lots and cool off in the heat
  • It appears as though breathing was not as advanced, suggesting that they may not have been able to talk the way we can
the culture of homo erectus
The Culture of Homo erectus
  • Used fire and stone tools
  • Hard to tell if they hunted

large animals...bones have been found but its very hard to say where they came from

  • Skull damage may suggest cannibalism
  • Endurance running became important. Adaptations such as these became necessary:
    • Energetics(the flow and transformation of energy)
    • Stabilization (how the body keeps from falling)
    • Temperature regulation (maintaining body temp)
importance of fire
Importance of Fire
  • The transition to Homo erectus was driven by fire
  • Started cooking their food which changed everything!
  • New diet resulted in smaller guts, bigger brains, bigger bodies, reduced body hair, and smaller teeth (since cooked food is softer)
homo erectus to homo sapiens
Homo erectus to Homo sapiens
  • 1 proposal: Replacement Theory: Although Homo erectus were dispersed among Africa, Asia, and Europe, only one group (in Africa) evolved into Homo sapiens.
    • This happened 100,000-200,000 years ago
    • Homo sapiens then travelled the globe and replaced any Homo erectus still living
    • They then evolved into the different races we see globally
  • 2nd proposal: Multiregional Continental Theory: Several different migrations out of Africa by populations that looked different occurred. These migrations took place during different times using different routes. They evolved into the human species today independently
who were the neandertals
Who were the Neandertals?
  • They were not Homo sapiens, but they did belong to the genus Homo
  • They lived 135,000 years ago up until about 35,000 years ago
  • They had massive brains! (1,520cm cubed)
  • Mostly right handed
  • Lots of muscle
  • Many argue that Homo neandertalensisshould actually be Homo sapiens neandertalensis
neandertals continued
Neandertals Continued....
  • Used wooden spears
  • Drove animals off cliffs
  • Bones of elephants and rhinos were used for buildings
  • Lots of bones with torn off flesh, cuts, bite marks...not sure why....
  • Had light skin and red hair (DNA shows)
  • Lived in Europe and Western Asia
modern humans
Modern Humans
  • Anatomically modern human fossils have been found in Africa and Asia that are around 70,000 years old
  • Modern skeletal remains were found in Ethiopia that dated 160,000 years ago!
  • DNA evidence shows that modern humans are around 100,000-200,000 years old
  • So they lived at the same time as Neandretals, but in different areas.
so what happened to the neandertals
So What Happened to the Neandertals?
  • There was no conquest or extermination
  • May have evolved into anatomically modern people, adopting stone-age culture, but this is unlikely
  • May have retreated and died out as modern people spread through Europe
  • May have interbred with migrating modern people
  • No one really knows...they are still debating...
anatomically modern traits of homo sapiens sapiens
Anatomically Modern Traits of Homo sapiens sapiens
  • Our teeth, brow ridges, and face are smaller, evidence of less chewing stress (probably because we have awesome tools now to help )
  • Our brain is large, although not as large as some of our ancestors
  • We have a distinct chin, again possibly related to less chewing stress
  • Our bones are longer and thinner
  • Our body is lankier and less robust (probably because we don’t work as hard)
behaviorally modern traits of homo sapiens sapiens
Behaviorally Modern Traits of Homo sapiens sapiens
  • Symbolism (using one object or sign to mean something else)
  • Oldest use of symbols in in South Africa’s 70,000 year old Blombos cave, where there are dozens of stone tablets that have clearly been scratched with X’s and O’s
  • In Israel’s Skhul Cave, ten humans were buried 100,000 years ago and were wearing snail shell necklaces!
  • Complex language (communicating by stringing together messages according to complex rules, syntax, and grammar)
origins of language
Origins of Language
  • Most anthropologists study the “Social Grooming Theory”, as it is most supported
  • Most primates communicate and maintain relationships by grooming each other (picking off insects and debris from each other)
  • Over time, this became more complex as social group sizes increased
  • Larger group size is correlated to having a bigger brain!
  • As group size became larger, language replaced physical grooming
  • Language conveys more information than grooming, and can address more than one person at a time
evolution of consciousness
Evolution of Consciousness
  • Consciousness-is the unique human capacity for self-contemplation. (Not only do we think, but we can think about what we think)
  • Mithen Model-evolution of consciousness came about as the mind forged new links between previous intelligences that were isolated. There are 4 intelligences that have come about in human evolution:
    • 1. Social intelligence (complex interpersonal primate relationships)
    • 2. Technical intelligence (ability to make and use tools)
    • 3. Linguistic intelligence (manage complex communication)
    • 4. Natural history intelligence (understand cause and effect relationships)
  • Donald Model-evolution of consciousness came in a series of drastic changes in the mind’s way of storing and representing experiences
    • 1. Episodic consciousness (all primates had this before Homo)
    • 2. Mimetic consciousness (miming and simple vocalizations of the first Homos)
    • 3. Mythic consciousness (symbol use, myths, and narratives to organize complex and diverse ideas in the mind)
    • 4. Theoretic consciousness (invention of objective science, rather than believing in the supernatural, about 2000 years ago in Greece)
origins of myths
Origins of Myths
  • Myths are a way of organizing the contents of a human’s complex mind
  • Most are verbal, however, cave art that is 30,000 years old shows the use of myths
  • Cave art depicts at least 4 main concepts:
    • 1. Shamanic voyages (healers travelling the world)
    • 2. Hunting magic (showing large herds and vulnerable animals)
    • 3. Myths or parables (instructing people on how to live the “proper” way
    • 4. Rites of passage (rituals and ceremonies that usher people into various stages of life)
late stone age culture
Late Stone Age Culture
  • Used blades, spears, and arrows
  • Bows and arrows have been found that are approximately 20,000 years old
  • Hunted animals for their skins, not just food
  • Ate plant foods in addition to some meat
  • Used Ostrich-eggshell beads, painted animals on rocks, and made clay sculptures
the spread of homo sapiens
The Spread of Homo sapiens
  • Physically and culturally modern human beings were the first to occupy the harsh climates of Asia
  • Siberian fossils are between 35,000 and 20,000 years old
  • Alaskan and Canadian fossils are between 15,000 and 12,000 years old
colonizing america
Colonizing America
  • There is strong support that Native Americans are of Asian decent
  • This is done using blood group and tooth shape evidence
colonizing austrailia
Colonizing Austrailia
  • First colonized Austrailia 60,000 to 40,000 years ago
  • Australia was linked to New Guinea
  • Migrants still would have had to cross 30-90km of open water
  • They may have been connected to the widespread extinction of grass eating marsupials in Austrailia 40,000- 15,000 years ago