Chapter 12 Neanderthals and Archaic Homo sapiens • Early Archaic H. Sapiens • A Review of Middle Pleistocene evolution • Middle Pleistocene Culture • Neanderthals: Late Archaic H. Sapiens • Culture of Neanderthals • Genetic Evidence • Evolutionary Trends in the Genus Homo
Early Archaic Homo sapiens • Homo erectus continued to evolve as transitional forms between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sapiens. • All Middle Pleistocene specimens are classified within the species Homo sapiens. • There is variation within and between samples of these hominids and they are geographically widely dispersed.
Middle Pleistocene Culture: Levallois technique • Tool making technique for controlling flake size and shape invented by the archaic Homo sapiens in Africa and Europe. • Required several coordinated steps suggesting increased cognitive abilities in archaic Homo sapiens.
Middle Pleistocene Culture • Dwellings included caves, open-air sites and temporary structures. • Chinese archaeologists insist that sites contain evidence of human-controlled fire. • Many different food sources including fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and bird eggs.
Neandertals:Late Archaic H. sapiens • Classified H. sapiens, they are like us, yet different. • Brain size larger than that of H. sapiens today. • Cranium was large, low and bulging at the sides. • France, 1908 - Nearly complete skeleton was found surrounded by tools and animal bones.
Neandertal Culture: Settlements • Improved on the previous Levallois techniques by inventing a new variation. • Lived in open sites, caves and rock shelters. • Fire was used for cooking, warmth, light, and keeping predators at bay. • Some indication of specialization of tools.
Neandertal Culture: Subsistence • After the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic the spear thrower was invented. • Besides meat, Neandertals ate berries, nuts and other plants. • Due to the bitter cold of the last glacial period, it is assumed that Neanderthals wore simple clothing.
Neandertal Culture: Symbolic Behavior • Consensus is that Neandertals were capable of articulate speech. • Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead. • Burials contained grave goods (stone tools, animal bones and flowers) and graves were covered with stone slabs.
Evolutionary Trends in the past 2 million years • Early Homo to Homo erectus • Homo erectus into early Homo sapiens • Archaic Homo sapiens to anatomically modern Homo sapiens
Three Taxonomic Issues • Classification of fossils in “archaic Homo sapiens" is imprecise, since this group is ill-defined. • Several early archaic specimens show derived features different from Homo sapiens. • Neanderthals are viewed by many researchers as representing the species, Homo neanderthalensis.