Paleanthropology, or paleoanthropology, is a branch of anthropology concerned with fossil hominids.
Anthropology[edit | edit source]
"Anthropology is distinguished from other social science disciplines by its emphasis on in-depth examination of context, cross-cultural comparisons, and the importance it places on long-term, experiential immersion in the area of research."
"Our study is the first to address the question of population-level rates of head injuries in Neanderthals and Upper Paleolithic Europeans by examining both injured and non-injured individuals, and using the largest dataset currently available that we compiled from the literature. We used sophisticated statistical modeling, taking into account preservation bias and other factors. As such our study is the first that addresses the question of head injury rates in Neanderthal and Upper Paleolithic modern human populations."
"Neanderthals and early Upper Palaeolithic anatomically modern humans exhibit similar overall incidences of cranial trauma, which are higher for males in both taxa, consistent with patterns shown by later populations of modern humans."
Theoretical paleanthropology[edit | edit source]
Def. the "scientific study of fossil humans, and the evolution of modern man" is called paleanthropology.
Taxonomy[edit | edit source]
Def. an "ape of the family Hominidae, having a mostly hairless face, protrusive lips, hands with complex fingerprints, and flat fingernails" "Includes chimpanzees and gorillas [subfamily Homininae], and orangutans [subfamily Ponginae]. Usage may vary to either include or exclude humans (members of Homininae subfamily)" is called a great ape.
Def. any "great ape (including humans and apes) belonging to the superfamily Hominoidea" is called a hominoid.
- Ordo: Primates
- Subordo: Haplorrhini
- Infraordo: Simiiformes
- Parvordo: Catarrhini
- Superfamilia: Hominoidea
- Familia: Hominidae
- Subfamilia: Homininae
- Tribus: Hominini
- Subtribus: Hominina
Paleogene[edit | edit source]
The Paleogene Period extends from 65.5 ± 0.3 to 23.03 ± 0.05 x 106 b2k.
Paleocene[edit | edit source]
The Paleocene dates from 65.5 ± 0.3 x 106 to 55.8 ± 0.2 x 106 b2k.
Plesiadapis[edit | edit source]
"Plesiadapis, the oldest known primate-like mammal, lived [58 million years ago.]"
"Infants were fully formed but helpless, so mothers must have provided a great deal of care. Resembling squirrel-like lemurs, Plesiadapis moms also spent a lot of time scurrying around the ground and in trees."
Eocene[edit | edit source]
The Eocene dates from 55.8 ± 0.2 x 106 to 33.9 ± 0.1 x 106 b2k.
Oligocene[edit | edit source]
The Oligocene dates from 33.9 ± 0.1 x 106 to 23.03 x 106 b2k.
Holarctic-Antarctic Ice Age[edit | edit source]
"This late Cenozoic ice age began at least 30 million years ago in Antarctica; it expanded to Arctic regions of southern Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, and Svalbard between 10 and 3 million years ago. Glaciers and ice sheets in these areas have been relatively stable, more-or-less permanent features during the past few million years."
Baboons[edit | edit source]
"Grossly, human speech concatenates syllables, each with a vowel at its core and each vowel flanked by consonants. Each language has its own particular phonology (i.e. its own inventory of vowel and consonant phonemes and patterns of their use), but the phonemes are drawn systematically from a universal superset structured by the anatomy and physiology of the vocal tract and vocal folds. In particular, all the vowels are differently situated within a roughly triangular [i a u] vocalic space [1,2]."
The procedure for acoustic analysis and VLS labeling is shown in the second image down on the right: "(A) Vocalizations in both human and nonhuman primates use the acoustic signal from the vocal folds vibrating at their fundamental frequency (F0). The formant frequencies depend on the configuration of the vocal tract and the lip opening. (B) [Linear Predictive Coding] LPC analysis was used to reveal the formants of each [vowel like segments] VLS (supplemental information S2 Fig) [28,29]. (C) A Monte Carlo procedure using an n-tube model normalized for the anatomical measures of the baboons’ vocal tracts then served to generate the [Maximal Acoustic Space] MAS (shown by the red line). With this normalized MAS reference, any VLSs could be precisely labeled with the [International Phonetic Alphabet] IPA vowel symbols [30,31]. (D) The VLSs thus labeled correspond to well-documented articulatory configurations with characteristic tongue positions and lip openings. (A-D) Red-&-black dots indicate the corresponding values for this illustrative grunt vocalization, which is classified as [u]."
"[B]aboons’ wahoos, yaks, barks and other vocalizations [contain] evidence of five vowel-like sounds — a sign that the physical capacity for speech may have evolved over much longer timescales than previously thought."
"By comparing the vocal tract of humans and their close primate relatives, researchers can get a sense of which particular traits were necessary for the emergence of speech."
The third image down on the right shows the anatomical "structure of the baboon tongue and muscle recruitment during VLS production: (A) The baboon’s muscle fiber orientation allows tongue motion along two main axes (see also supplemental information S3 Fig). The first axis produces the front/back contrast [æ] ⇔ [u ɔ], including the [u] VLS, which requires a constriction in the back of the vocal tract. Movement along this axis uses antagonistic activation of GGam and SG tongue muscles. The second axis produces the [ɑ] ⇔ [ɨ] VLS contrasts by controlling vertical tongue displacement using the GGp and HG tongue muscles. (B) The baboons’ different VLSs can each be explained by recruitment of a unique configuration of tongue muscles. GGa, GGm, GGp: anterior, medium, posterior part of the genioglossus; HG: hyoglossus; SG: styloglossus."
Speech “engages anatomical traits that might leave fossil clues, as well as overt anatomical, physiological, and behavioral aspects for which parallels can be sought in living primates.” 
The fourth image down on the right shows an anatomic sagittal view of the head of a female baboon with vocalization organs labeled: "(1) hyoid bone, (2) air sac, (3) thyroid cartilage, (4) epiglottis, (5) arytenoid cartilage, (6) vocal folds and glottis, (7) cricoid cartilage, (8) trachea, (9) lips, (10) incisors, (11) mandible, (12) hard palate, (13) velum, (14) pharyngeal wall, (15-16-17) anterior GGa, medial GGm, and posterior genioglossus GGp,(18) superior longitudinalis, (19) geniohyoid GH, (20) digastric anterior, (21) C1, (22) C2,(23) C3, (24) mid sagittal line of the vocal tract used to infer the tract length and the computation of the MAS. Note the orientation of the fibers of the GGa, GGm and GGp muscles, which approach vertical on the anterior part of the tongue but are effectively horizontal in the posterior part. The fibers of the styloglossus (SG) muscle on the lateral sides of the tongue have approximately the same inclination as those of a human baby . As in humans, the hyoglossus (HG) muscle has two components which are inserted into the body of the hyoid bone and over the entire extent of the great horn. Its fibers are oriented vertically as found in human children. (N.B.: SG and HG are both lateral to the midline, and do not appear on this view.) This anatomical study shows that a baboon’s tongue has the same musculature as a human’s. Regarding shape and proportions, the baboon’s tongue is more similar to that of a child than that of a human adult."
"In large part, human speech uses vowels as the kernel of a sound and places consonants around those vowels. So the number of different vowels you can make is important, because it means you can make a greater variety of potentially meaningful chunks of sound."
"Think about “cat,” “kit,” “cut,” “coat,” “coot,” “keet,” and “caught” — seven words with distinct meanings. Each has a “k” sound at the beginning and a “t” at the end; what separates them is their vowels. Without each of those subtly distinguishable vowels, English speakers wouldn’t be able to tell those words apart."
"Languages have different inventories and patterns of vowel and consonant usage, but they all rely on roughly the same vocal tract shape. And for a long time, many researchers assumed that nonhuman primates couldn’t make vowel-like sounds because their larynxes (or voice boxes) sat much higher in the neck than human larynxes do. That assumption had major implications for theories on the emergence of language, which remains a uniquely human ability."
“This theory has often been used to buttress the theoretical claim of a recent date for language origin, e.g. 70,000-100,000 years ago. It also diverted scientists' interests away from articulated sound in nonhuman primates as a potential homolog of human speech, and thus lent support to less direct explanations of language evolution, involving communicative gestures, complex cognitive or neural functions, or genetics.”
"Lowered larynxes have been found in other animals that have no ability to make vowel sounds. And human babies, who have very high larynxes, can still generate the same vowel range as adults. Scientists have begun to realize, thanks to computer modeling work, that the movement and control of the tongue’s position is actually much more important in making vowel sounds than the height of the larynx."
Formants "are concentrations of acoustic energy around key frequencies in human speech, and their distribution is defined in part by the shape of our vocal tract."
"The individual formants found in a vowel can tell you the configuration of the mouth that made it — for example, whether the lips are rounded, how high the tongue is, and whether the tongue is pushed forward toward the teeth or back in the mouth."
"In human speech, each vowel has a particular blend of formants that make it a unique, easily identifiable sound."
"15 Guinea baboons (12 females and three males) [such as those in the image on the right, live] in an outdoor enclosure at the National Center for Scientific Research’s primate center in Rousset-sur-Arc, France."
Five "types of baboon vocalizations [appear] to feature formants — grunts, wahoos, barks, yaks and mating calls."
"After analyzing the 1,335 spontaneous vocalizations (and after splitting the wahoos into their wa- and -hoo subunits), the researchers concluded that the recordings held 1,404 “vowel-like segments.”"
"For the ability to make specific vowel-like sounds, it seemed that tongue position really was more important than the larynx’s height."
"The ability to articulate vowel-like sounds, necessary for the development of human speech, was probably shared by the last common ancestor of both humans and baboons [among the Cercopithecoidea] some 25 million years ago."
“Whatever the course of the emergence of language and speech, the evidence developed in this study does not support the hypothesis of the recent, sudden, and simultaneous appearance of language and speech in modern Homo sapiens.”
Rukwapithecus[edit | edit source]
"The fossil remnants ... date back 25 million years ago, filling a gap in the fossil record that reveals when apes and monkeys first diverged."
"These discoveries are important because they offer the earliest fossil evidence for either of these primate groups".
"The fossils were found in a layer of the Rukwa Rift in Tanzania. The region is part of the East African Rift, a tectonic-plate boundary where the Earth's crust is being pulled apart."
“The new discoveries are particularly important for helping to reconcile a long-standing disagreement between divergence time estimates derived from analyses of DNA sequences from living primates and those suggested by the primate fossil record.”
"Studies of clock-like mutations in primate DNA have indicated that the split between apes and Old World monkeys occurred between 30 million and 25 million years ago."
Neogene[edit | edit source]
The Neogene dates from 23.03 x 106 to 2.58 x 106 b2k.
Miocene[edit | edit source]
The Miocene dates from 23.03 x 106 to 5.332 x 106 b2k.
"Hominoids diversified successfully in Europe up to 6 million–years ago, between the middle Aragonian Mammal Stage (14 Ma, Griphopithecus, Dryopithecus) and the beginning of the late Vallesian (9.7 Ma, Dryopithecus, Ankarapithecus, Graecopithecus; Andrews and Bernor, 1999; Agustí et al., 2001). At 9.6Ma, the Vallesian Crisis (Agustí and Moyà-Solà, 1990; Agustí et al., 1997) led to the extinction of the hominoids in Europe, together with most of the highly diversified early Vallesian fauna. Hominoids like Ankarapithecus or Graecopithecus disappeared entirely from the fossil record, and only Oreopithecus in its Tuscan refuge, and Sivapithecus in South Western Asia, survived this extinction event. Dryopithecus is still found in some early late Vallesian localities dated at about 9.6 Ma (Can Llobateres 2, Viladecavalls; Agustí et al., 1996), but disappeared from the fossil record shortly after (this species may have survived until the early Turolian in the Caucasus, where some remains in the Georgian site of Udabno were described as Udabnopithecus, Gabunia et al., 2001)."
Tortonian[edit | edit source]
The Tortonian lasted from 11.63 Ma to 7.246 Ma.
Gigantopithecus is an extinct genus of ape that existed from perhaps nine million years to as recently as one hundred thousand years ago, at the same period as Homo erectus would have been dispersed, in what is now India, Vietnam, China and Indonesia placing Gigantopithecus in the same time frame and geographical location as several hominin species. The primate fossil record suggests that the species Gigantopithecus blacki were the largest known primates that ever lived, standing up to 3 m (9.8 ft) and weighing as much as 540–600 kg (1,190–1,320 lb), although some argue that it is more likely that they were much smaller, at roughly 1.8–2 m (5.9–6.6 ft) in height and 180–300 kg (400–660 lb) in weight.
Messinian[edit | edit source]
"The GSSP of the Messinian Stage, which per definition marks the base of the Messinian and, hence, the boundary between the Tortonian and Messinian Stages of the Upper Miocene Subseries, is Oued Akrech (Morocco) where the Messinian GSSP is now formally designated at the base of the reddish layer of sedimentary cycle no. 15. This point coincides closely with the first regular occurrence (FRO) of the planktonic foraminiferal Globorotalia miotumida group and the first occurrence (FO) of the calcareous nannofossil Amaurolithus delicatus, and falls within the interval of reversed polarity that corresponds to C3Br.1r. The base of the reddish layer and, thus, the Messinian GSSP has been assigned an astronomical age of 7.251 Ma."
"The correlation of characteristic sedimentary cycle patterns to the astronomical record resulted in an astronomical age of 7.24 Ma (Hilgen et al., 1995), in good agreement with the radiometric age estimates of Vai et al. (1993) and Laurenzi et al. (1997)."
The integrated magnetostratigraphy, calcareous plankton biostratigraphy and cyclostratigraphy of section Oued Akrech is diagrammed on the left.
Prehistory[edit | edit source]
The prehistory period dates from around 7 x 106 b2k to about 7,000 b2k.
The graph at left shows many of the hominins that have been discovered so far in Africa and elsewhere on Earth.
"In the absence of any gorilla fossil evidence, it is not possible to trace the historical genesis of these adaptations, but the three gorilla populations are assumed to have similar dietary selective regimes in comparison to other taxa that would determine the fitness of certain traits".
Sahelanthropus tchadensis[edit | edit source]
"Sahelanthropus tchadensis is one of the oldest known species in the human family tree. This species lived sometime between 7 and 6 million years ago in West-Central Africa (Chad). Walking upright may have helped this species survive in diverse habitats, including forests and grasslands. Although we have only cranial material from Sahelanthropus, studies so far show this species had a combination of ape-like and human-like features. Ape-like features included a small brain (even slightly smaller than a chimpanzee’s), sloping face, very prominent browridges, and elongated skull. Human-like features included small canine teeth, a short middle part of the face, and a spinal cord opening underneath the skull instead of towards the back as seen in non-bipedal apes."
"Some of the oldest evidence of a humanlike species moving about in an upright position comes from Sahelanthropus. The foramen magnum (the large opening where the spinal cord exits out of the cranium from the brain) is located further forward (on the underside of the cranium) than in apes or any other primate except humans. This feature indicates that the head of Sahelanthropus was held on an upright body, probably associated with walking on two legs."
"The first (and, so far, only) fossils of Sahelanthropus are nine cranial specimens from northern Chad. A research team of scientists led by French paleontologist Michael Brunet uncovered the fossils in 2001, including the type specimen TM 266-1-606-1. Before 2001, early humans in Africa had only been found in the Great Rift Valley in East Africa and sites in South Africa, so the discovery of Sahelanthropus fossils in West-Central Africa shows that the earliest humans were more widely distributed than previously thought."
Orrorin tugenensis[edit | edit source]
"Living around 6 million years ago, Orrorin tugenensis is the one of the oldest early humans on our family tree. Individuals of this species were approximately the size of a chimpanzee and had small teeth with thick enamel, similar to modern humans. The most important fossil of this species is an upper femur, showing evidence of bone buildup typical of a biped - so Orrorin tugenensis individuals climbed trees but also probably walked upright with two legs on the ground."
"A research team led by French paleontologist Brigitte Senut and French geologist Martin Pickford discovered this species in the Tugen Hills region of central Kenya. They found more than a dozen early human fossils dating between about 6.2 million and 6.0 million years old. Because of its novel combination of ape and human traits, the researchers gave a new genus and species name to these fossils, Orrorin tugenensis, which in the local language means “original man in the Tugen region.” So far, Orrorin tugenensis is the only species in the genus Orrorin."
"Orrorin’s femur (thigh bone) and humerus (upper arm bone) are about 1.5 times larger than those of Lucy’s (AL 288-1). Therefore, scientists estimate that Orrorin would have been 1.5 times larger than Au. afarensis, suggesting a size similar to a female chimpanzee, between about 30 and 50 kg."
Ardipithecus kadabba[edit | edit source]
"Ardipithecus kadabba was bipedal (walked upright), probably similar in body and brain size to a modern chimpanzee, and had canines that resemble those in later hominins but that still project beyond the tooth row. This early human species is only known in the fossil record by a few post-cranial bones and sets of teeth. One bone from the large toe has a broad, robust appearance, suggesting its use in bipedal push-off."
"When he found a piece of lower jaw lying on the ground in the Middle Awash region of Ethiopia 1997, paleoanthropologist Yohannes Haile-Selassie didn’t realize that he had uncovered a new species. But 11 specimens from at least 5 individuals later, Haile-Selassie was convinced he had found a new early human ancestor. The fossils—which also included hand and foot bones, partial arm bones, and a clavicle (collarbone)—were dated to 5.6–5.8 million years old. One of the specimens, a toe bone, is dated to 5.2 million years old; this fossil has features of bipedal walking. Faunal (fossil animal) evidence from the site indicated that the early humans there lived in a mixture of woodlands and grasslands, and had plenty of access to water via lakes and springs."
"In 2002, six teeth were discovered in the Middle Awash at the site Asa Koma. The dental wear patterns confirmed the early human fossils were unique and not a subspecies of A. ramidus. Based on these teeth, paleoanthropologists Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Gen Suwa, and Tim White allocated the fossils in 2004 to a new species they named Ardipithecus kadabba (‘kadabba’ means ‘oldest ancestor’ in the Afar language)."
Pliocene[edit | edit source]
The Pliocene ranges from 5.332 x 106 to 2.588 x 106 b2k.
Zanclean[edit | edit source]
"The boundary-stratotype of the stage is located in the Eraclea Minoa section on the southern coast of Sicily (Italy), at the base of the Trubi Formation. The age of the Zanclean and Pliocene GSSP at the base of the stage is 5.33 Ma in the orbitally calibrated time scale, and lies within the lowermost reversed episode of the Gilbert Chron (C3n.4r), below the Thvera normal subchron."
Ardipithecus ramidus[edit | edit source]
There "is 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus".
"It is as close as we have ever come to finding the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans."
"The oldest-known potential hominid is Ardipithecus ramidus, represented by some fragmentary fossils from the 4.4-million-year-old site of Aramis in Ethiopia [...]."
Australopithecus anamensis[edit | edit source]
"Australopithecus anamensis has a combination of traits found in both apes and humans. The upper end of the tibia (shin bone) shows an expanded area of bone and a human-like orientation of the ankle joint, indicative of regular bipedal walking (support of body weight on one leg at the time). Long forearms and features of the wrist bones suggest these individuals probably climbed trees as well."
"In 1965, a research team led by Bryan Patterson from Harvard University discovered a single arm bone (KNM-KP 271) of an early human at the site of Kanapoi in northern Kenya. But without additional human fossils, Patterson could not confidently identify the species to which it belonged. In 1994, a research team led by paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey found numerous teeth and fragments of bone at the same site. Leakey and her colleagues determined that the fossils were those of a very primitive hominin and they named a new species called Australopithecus anamensis (‘anam’ means ‘lake’ in the Turkana lanaguage). Researchers have since found other Au. anamensis fossils at nearby sites (including Allia Bay), all of which date between about 4.2 million and 3.9 million years old."
"Australopithecus anamensis individuals had thickly-built, long, narrow jaws with their side rows of teeth arranged in parallel lines. Their strong jaws combined with heavily enameled teeth suggest Au. anamensis individuals may at times have eaten hard, abrasive foods, but they likely were plant-eaters in general, relying on both fruits and tough foods such as nuts. The sites where remains of Au. anamensis have been found were forests and woodlands that grew around lakes."
"Jaw remains suggest that this species was the direct ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis, and possibly the direct descendent of a species of Ardipithecus."
"A team led by Meave Leakey found the A. anamensis type specimen, mandible KNM-KP 29281, in Kenya in 1994. In 2006, Tim White’s team found A. anamensis fossils in the Middle Awash, Ethiopia, including the largest hominin canine yet discovered and the earliest Australopithecus femur."
"This 4.1 million year old upper tibia (shin bone) fossil, KNM-KP 29285, comes from Australopithecus anamensis, an early human species that lived near open areas and dense woods. Their bodies had evolved in ways that enabled them to walk upright most of the time while still being able to climb trees. As a result, they could take advantage of both habitats. The top part of the tibia (where the lower leg meets the knee) is concave, or depressed from stress. This shows that the individual often put weight on the bone—evidence of standing upright. The lower part of the tibia (where the lower leg meets the ankle) is wider or thicker—evidence that it acted as a type of shock absorber as this individual walked ."
Australopithecus afarensis[edit | edit source]
Australopithecus afarensis is an extinct hominid that lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago.
"Among the earliest known relatives of humanity definitely known to walk upright was Australopithecus afarensis, the species including the famed 3.2-million-year-old "Lucy." [Found at Hadar, Ethiopia] Australopithecines are the leading candidates for direct ancestors of the human lineage, living about 2.9 million to 3.8 million years ago in East Africa."
Compared to the modern and extinct great apes, A. afarensis has reduced canines and molars, although they are still relatively larger than in modern humans. A. afarensis also has a relatively small brain size (~380–430 cm3, [range 372–550, mean 428, n = 6, 2.95–3.24 Ma]) and a prognathic face (i.e. a face with forward projecting jaws).
""When looking at how we became human, an important moment in our history was abandoning a lifestyle in the trees, and when that happened is a big question."
"Lucy's adult shoulder sockets also faced upward, suggesting that, like modern apes, her species was equipped for tree-climbing throughout its life span. Humans, on the other hand, are born with a somewhat downward-facing socket that gradually moves to face outward as people mature."
"Her long arm bones [shown in the image on the right] and the crest created by muscles that attach to her humerus (upper arm bone) are evidence of a powerful chest and strong upper arm muscles necessary for tree climbing. Her short, broad pelvis also held her body upright while angled-in thigh bones kept her body weight directly above her knees while in stride, both requirements for walking efficiently on two legs. Lucy’s compact feet were capable of supporting her full body weight as she walked upright, but her long, curved toe bones resemble that of a tree-climbing ape. Because Lucy could walk upright on the ground and climb trees, she and other members of her species were able to use resources from woodlands, grasslands, and other diverse environments."
Australopithecus prometheus[edit | edit source]
On the right is an image of Little Foot’s nearly complete fossil skeleton, recently freed from rock that had encased it, lying in a display case at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
"An ancient hominid skeleton dubbed Little Foot possessed a brain largely similar to that of modern chimpanzees and an inner ear with a mix of apelike and humanlike features, [...] of the adult female’s 3.67-million-year-old skeleton, point to the piecemeal evolution of humanlike traits in close relatives of our species [...]."
Analyses "of trunk and limb bones indicate that Little Foot, who lived perhaps a million years before the emergence of the human genus, Homo, already walked upright about as well as people today do [...]."
"Although Little Foot consists of a nearly complete skeleton, her evolutionary identity is controversial. Little Foot’s discoverer [...] assigns the find to Australopithecus prometheus, an early extinct hominid species [...]. Other researchers regard Little Foot as an early member of Australopithecus africanus, a species previously known from fossils discovered at several South African sites [...]."
A "3-D digital reconstruction, or endocast, of Little Foot’s brain surface [has been compared] with digital endocasts of 10 other South African hominid specimens dating to between roughly 1.5 million and 3 million years ago."
"Little Foot had a small brain, only about one-third of the volume of a modern adult woman’s brain [...]. And overall, Little Foot had a more chimplike brain than any other southern African hominid, including specimens from species such as A. africanus and Paranthropus robustus, [...]. That’s not surprising, [...] since Little Foot is also the oldest known southern African hominid."
"The uncorrected and therefore minimum cranial capacity estimate [endocranial volume (ECV)] is 408 cm3 and plots at the lower end of Australopithecus variation [range 442–558, mean 503, n = 3, age range 2.01–2.8 Ma]."
"Chimplike positioning of a tissue groove toward the back of the brain indicates that Little Foot had a proportionately larger neural area devoted to vision than people do [...]. In human brains, a relatively smaller visual area makes room for an expanded neural section involved in integrating sensory and spatial information."
A "complex, humanlike set of blood vessels clustered on part of Little Foot’s brain surface could have fueled brain expansion observed in later hominids [...]."
"Even if Little Foot’s brain was different from ours, the vascular system that allows for blood flow and may control brain temperature was possibly already present."
The "left side of Little Foot’s brain protruded out slightly more in the back than the right side. Present-day humans and chimps possess such asymmetrical brains, as did hominids that evolutionarily followed Little Foot. Signs of brain asymmetry roughly 3.7 million years ago strengthen the possibility that this trait characterized the last common ancestor of hominids and modern great apes, which may have lived 7 million years ago or more."
"2-million- to 3-million-year-old hominid endocasts from eastern and southern Africa preserve grooves on the brain’s surface — created by adjacent tissue folds — positioned like those of present-day chimps."
Those "particular furrows of brain tissue appear in humanlike positions on the same endocasts."
"A computerized reconstruction of the ancient South African hominid’s inner ear bones reveals chimplike dimensions of a set of hoop-shaped structures, called the semicircular canals, that help control balance and motion, [...]. That configuration is consistent with Little Foot having engaged in a mix of two-legged walking and careful movement along tree branches, [...]."
A "spiral-shaped inner ear cavity called the cochlea, which translates sound vibrations into nerve signals sent to the brain, looks more humanlike than chimplike in Little Foot. Inner ear similarities of Little Foot to other Australopithecus specimens leave unclear whether those hominids could hear the same range of sounds as people do today."
Piacenzian[edit | edit source]
"The base of the beige marl bed of the small-scale carbonate cycle 77 (sensu Hilgen, 1991b) is the approved base of the Piacenzian Stage (that is the Lower Pliocene-Middle Pliocene boundary). It corresponds to precessional excursion 347 as numbered from the present with an astrochronological age estimate of 3.600 Ma (Lourens et al., 1996a)."
Stone Age[edit | edit source]
MIS Boundary MG2/MG3 is at 3347 ka.
MIS Boundary MG1/MG2 is at 3332 ka.
MIS Boundary M2/MG1 is at 3312 ka.
MIS Boundary M1/M2 is at 3264 ka.
Def. a "broad prehistoric period during which humans widely used stone for toolmaking" is called the Stone Age.
Australopithecus deyiremeda[edit | edit source]
"A fossil find adds another twig to the human evolutionary tree, giving further evidence that the well-known “Lucy” species had company in what is now Ethiopia [...] A lower jaw, plus jaw fragments and teeth, dated at 3.3 million to 3.5 million years old, were found in the Afar region of northern Ethiopia four years ago."
"New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier hominin technological behaviour. We report the discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatiotemporal association with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. The Lomekwi 3 knappers, with a developing understanding of stone’s fracture properties, combined core reduction with battering activities."
"[E]arlier species, such as Kenyanthropus platyops, bones of which have been found on the western shore of Lake Turkana, and A. afarensis, may have made tools by building on the cruder abilities seen in apes and monkeys. The Lomekwi tools were made in a forest environment, also questioning the idea that open landscapes catalysed tool use."
Australopithecus africanus[edit | edit source]
"Au. africanus was anatomically similar to Au. afarensis, with a combination of human-like and ape-like features. Compared to Au. afarensis, Au. africanus had a rounder cranium housing a larger brain and smaller teeth, but it also had some ape-like features including relatively long arms and a strongly sloping face that juts out from underneath the braincase with a pronounced jaw. Like Au. afarensis, the pelvis, femur (upper leg), and foot bones of Au. africanus indicate that it walked bipedally, but its shoulder and hand bones indicate they were also adapted for climbing."
Endocranial volumes ranged 414–508 cm3, mean 455, from n = 5 individuals, 2.01–3.03 Ma.
"The Taung child, found in 1924, was the first to establish that early fossil humans occurred in Africa. After Prof. Raymond Dart described it and named the species Australopithecus africanus (meaning southern ape of Africa), it took more than 20 years for the scientific community to widely accept Australopithecus as a member of the human family tree."
"No stone tools have been discovered in the same sediments as Au. africanus fossils; however, for a long time researchers believed Au. africanus was a hunter. Raymond Dart created the term ‘osteodontokeratic’ culture (osteo = bone, donto = tooth, keratic = horn) in the 1940s and 1950s because remains of this species were found alongside broken animal bones. Dart assumed these broken animal bones, teeth and horns were used by Au. africanus as weapons; however, in the 1970s and 1980s, other scientists began to recognize that predators such as lions, leopards, and hyenas were instead responsible for leaving these broken animal bones. These predators even ate Au. africanus individuals, too."
"Despite the carnivorous preferences of their contemporaneous predators, Au. africanus individuals had a diet similar to modern chimpanzees, which consisted of fruit, plants, nuts, seeds, roots, insects, and eggs."
"Scientists can tell what Au. africanus may have eaten from looking at the remains of their teeth---tooth-size, shape, and tooth-wear can all provide diet clues. Dental microwear studies found more scratches than pits on Au. africanus teeth compared to a contemporaneous species, P. robustus. This pattern indicates that Au. africanus ate tough foods but also had a very variable diet including softer fruits and plants."
Paranthropus aethiopicus[edit | edit source]
"Paranthropus aethiopicus is still much of a mystery to paleoanthropologists, as very few remains of this species have been found. The discovery of the 2.5 million year old ’Black Skull’ in 1985 helped define this species as the earliest known robust australopithecine. P. aethiopicus has a strongly protruding face, large megadont teeth, a powerful jaw, and a well-developed sagittal crest on top of skull, indicating huge chewing muscles, with a strong emphasis on the muscles that connected toward the back of the crest and created strong chewing forces on the front teeth."
"Paranthropus aethiopicus was originally proposed in 1967 by a team of French paleontologists to describe a toothless partial mandible (Omo 18) that was thought to differ enough from the mandibles of the early human species known at that time. This naming of a new species was generally dismissed; many paleoanthropologists thought it premature to name a new species on the basis of a single incomplete mandible. In 1985, when Alan Walker and Richard Leakey discovered the famous "Black Skull" west of Lake Turkana in Kenya, the classification reemerged. With its mixture of derived and primitive traits, KNM-WT 17000 validated, in the eyes of many scientists, the recognition of a new "robust" australopithecine species dating to at least 2.5 million years ago in eastern Africa."
"A massive humerus (upper arm bone) from East Turkana and an elongated ulna (one of the lower arm bones) from Omo may indicate a large forelimb and large body, but no post-cranial bones are securely ascribed to this species."
"Many features of the skull are quite similar to Australopithecus afarensis, and P. aethiopicus may be a descendent of this species. It is most likely the ancestor of the robust australopithecine species found later in Eastern Africa, Paranthropus boisei."
"The dark color comes from minerals in the soil that were absorbed by the skull as it fossilized. The front teeth fell out and the others were broken off after the individual died. This is the only known adult skull of this species, which is considered a direct ancestor of Paranthropus boisei."
"Paranthropus aethiopicus lived about 2.7 to 2.3 million years ago in Eastern Africa (Turkana basin of northern Kenya, southern Ethiopia)."
"This skull didn’t start out black – it was white, like all other bones in living animals. KNM-WT 17000 or the ’Black Skull’ only got its dramatic dark color after millions of years of sitting in a manganese-rich soil and absorbing minerals as it fossilized."
"This nearly complete fossilized cranium has a face that projects far outward from the forehead, widely flaring zygomatic arches, and the largest sagittal crest of any early human. Though some of the individual’s front teeth fell out and others were broken off after death, molar and premolar roots in the jaw indicate that this early human would have also had massive cheek teeth; all of these features are adaptations for heavy chewing."
"Because of the sagittal crest and the skull’s small cranial capacity (410cc), researchers originally classified the ’Black Skull’ as Paranthropus boisei - but further comparison showed more similarities to Australopithecus afarensis. This mosaic of features led scientists to assign the specimen to a new species: Paranthropus aethiopicus."
The ’Black Skull’ is the only known adult skull of Paranthropus aethiopicus."
Endocranial volume ranges 410–491 cm3, mean 443, n = 3, 1.7–2.41 Ma.
Paleolithic history[edit | edit source]
The paleolithic period dates from around 2.6 x 106 b2k to the end of the Pleistocene around 12,000 b2k.
Quaternary[edit | edit source]
The "whole change elapsed just opposite the course of events that characterized the great glacial oscillations with sudden warming followed by slow cooling. Therefore, the two phenomena hardly have the same cause."
Pleistocene[edit | edit source]
The Pleistocene dates from 2.588 x 106 to 11,700 b2k.
Gelasian[edit | edit source]
"The base of the Quaternary System is defined by the Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Gelasian Stage at Monte San Nicola in Sicily, Italy, currently dated at 2.58 Ma."
Australopithecus garhi[edit | edit source]
"This species is not well documented; it is defined on the basis of one fossil cranium and four other skull fragments, although a partial skeleton found nearby, from about the same layer, is usually included as part of the Australopithecus garhi sample. The associated fragmentary skeleton indicates a longer femur (compared to other Australopithecus specimens, like ‘Lucy’) even though long, powerful arms were maintained. This suggests a change toward longer strides during bipedal walking."
"The human fossil record is poorly known between 3 million and 2 million years ago, which makes the finds from the site of Bouri, Middle Awash Ethiopia, particularly important. First in 1990 and then from 1996 to 1998, a research team led by Ethiopian paleoanthropologist Berhane Asfaw and American paleoanthropologist Tim White found the partial skull (BOU-VP-12/130) and other skeletal remains of an early humans dated to around 2.5 million years old. In 1997, the team named the new species Australopithecus garhi; the word ‘garhi’ means ‘surprise’ in the Afar language."
"The principal specimen BOU-VP-12/1, a cranium, may be a male. It is similar in size to the average of other Australopithecus specimens."
"Fossils of Australopithecus garhi are associated with some of the oldest known stone tools, along with animal bones that were cut and broken open with stone tools. It is possible, then, that this species was among the first to make the transition to stone toolmaking and to eating meat and bone marrow from large animals."
The "partial cranium, designated as the species’ holotype, is actually a set of fragments consisting of the front and side portions of the skull, the upper jaw, and upper teeth. The lower face is prognathic and the back teeth are very large with thick enamel. The estimated cranial capacity from the reconstructed cranium is 450 cubic centimeters, similar to other australopithecines."
"Cut-marked bones dated to 2·5 Ma from Bouri in Ethiopia are now providing important clues on the function of these artefacts. In addition, Australopithecus garhi known from contemporary deposits at Bouri may be the best candidate responsible for the oldest artefacts."
In the three images, the center one is higher magnification, greater detail, and provides a facial profile.
Endocranial volume is 450 cm3, n = 1, 2.45–2.50 Ma.
Homo habilis[edit | edit source]
"[T]he hobbit [may have] evolved from Homo habilis, whose brains were only about 600 cubic cm (37 cubic inches)."
From the geochronology under the history section, Homo habilis appeared about 2.5 x 106 b2k.
"The most comprehensive dataset ever assembled on our early human ancestors provides evidence that the first humans emerged in South Africa, and that the first humans to migrate out of Africa came from a small-bodied species such as Homo habilis, aka "Handy Man.""
Traditionally, Handy Man "was viewed as a little human, with a relatively big brain, bipedalism, and tool-making forming part of the picture."
"The study rejected the theory that Homo floresiensis individuals, "Hobbit Humans," were simply deformed members of our own species. The data instead shows that these tiny residents of the Island of Flores, Indonesia, did indeed belong to a unique species. Collard and his team suspect that the hobbits descended from a small-bodied early Homo species, such as Handy Man."
"Following this theory, Handy Man gave rise to Upright Man in Asia."
"Homo erectus would then have spread from Asia into Africa, rather than the reverse, which is what the current consensus contends."
As for Neanderthals, "We're pretty sure that Neanderthals are an exclusively Eurasian species; there is no evidence for them in Africa."
"The fact that Australopithecus sediba groups with Homo is consistent with the idea that the earliest known representative of the genus Homo originated in South Africa."
Pan troglodytes[edit | edit source]
The "first fossil chimpanzee [...], from the Kapthurin Formation, Kenya, show that representatives of Pan were present in the East African Rift Valley during the Middle Pleistocene, where they were contemporary with an extinct species of Homo. Habitats suitable for both hominins and chimpanzees were clearly present there during this period, and the Rift Valley did not present an impenetrable barrier to chimpanzee occupation."
"Although tool use is known to occur in species ranging from naked mole rats  to owls , chimpanzees are the most accomplished tool users [3–5]. [The] first account of habitual tool use during vertebrate hunting by nonhumans [occurred at] the Fongoli site in Senegal[. Ten] different chimpanzees use tools to hunt prosimian prey in 22 bouts. This includes immature chimpanzees and females, members of age-sex classes not normally characterized by extensive hunting behavior. Chimpanzees made 26 different tools, and we were able to recover and analyze 12 of these. Tool construction entailed up to five steps, including trimming the tool tip to a point. Tools were used in the manner of a spear, rather than a probe or rousing tool."
Paranthropus boisei[edit | edit source]
"Like other members of the Paranthropus genus, P. boisei is characterized by a specialized skull with adaptations for heavy chewing. A strong sagittal crest on the midline of the top of the skull anchored the temporalis muscles (large chewing muscles) from the top and side of the braincase to the lower jaw, and thus moved the massive jaw up and down. The force was focused on the large cheek teeth (molars and premolars). Flaring cheekbones gave P. boisei a very wide and dish-shaped face, creating a larger opening for bigger jaw muscles to pass through and support massive cheek teeth four times the size of a modern human’s. This species had even larger cheek teeth than P. robustus, a flatter, bigger-brained skull than P. aethiopicus, and the thickest dental enamel of any known early human. Cranial capacity in this species suggests a slight rise in brain size (about 100 cc in 1 million years) independent of brain enlargement in the genus Homo."
"Paleoanthropologists actually found the first fossils belonging to P. boisei in 1955, but it wasn’t until Mary Leakey’s 1959 discovery of the ‘Zinj’ skull (OH 5) that scientists knew what they had found was a new species. ‘Zinj’ became the type specimen for P. boisei and, soon after, arguably the most famous early human fossil from Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania."
"If you compare a male P. boisei individual to a male Au. africanus who lived during a similar time period (3.3–2.1 Mya), you’ll see why the species Paranthropus got the name ‘robust.’ While both males are on average 4 ft 6 inches tall, the average male P. boisei was 18 pounds heavier than a male Au. africanus of the same height. Even P. boisei females were slightly larger and heavier than what scientists had seen before in the fossil record of other early humans."
"Male and female P. boisei individuals were closer in body size than individuals of other species of early humans preceding them, but this species still had a fairly high level of sexual dimorphism."
"This species was nicknamed Nutcracker Man for its big teeth and strong chewing muscles, which attached to the large crest on the skull. Those features show that Paranthropus boisei likely ate tough foods like roots and nuts. But dental microwear patterns seen on P. boisei teeth are more similar to living fruit-eaters with fine striations, rather than large, deep pits seen in the teeth of living species that eat grass, tough leaves and stems, or other hard, brittle foods. While the morphology of P. boisei skull and teeth indicate it could have chewed hard or tough foods, dental microwear analysis does not demonstrate that they regularly did so, suggesting a wider, more diverse diet for P. boisei. It's possible that this species only ate hard or tough foods during times when its preferred resources were scarce, relying on them as fallback foods."
"P. boisei is usually thought to descend from earlier P. aethiopicus (who inhabited the same geographic area just a few hundred thousand years before) and lived alongside several other species of early humans during its 1.1 million year existence. P. boisei belongs to just one of the many side branches of human evolution, which most scientists agree includes all Paranthropus species and did not lead to H. sapiens."
"The 1975 discovery of P. boisei specimen KNM-ER 406 and H. erectus specimen KNM-ER 3733 in the same stratigraphic layer was the first example of species coexistence. This discovery cleared up a long time controversy and confirmed that more than one species of early humans lived in the same geographical area at the same time. More finds have confirmed that this species was one of the most prevalent in Eastern Africa during the time period when early members of the genus Homo were also present. This replaced the traditional view of a single human lineage by the notion of a human family tree with many branches (like most other family trees); we’ve been adding branches though discoveries of new species ever since."
"KNM-ER 732 [second image down on the right], a partial cranium of a female Paranthropus boisei has many characteristic P. boisei features. Most notable is the forward placed root of the zygomatic arch, resulting in a wide flat face. This skull has a cranial capacity of 500 cubic centimeters, nearly identical to the 510 cubic centimeters of presumed male P. boisei KNM-ER 406. Yet the skull shows less robust facial features than KNM-ER 406; the face is less massive overall, and it lacks a sagittal crest. From this, scientists conclude that KNM-ER 732 represents a female of the Parathropus boisei species. This fossil provides clues as to the nature of sexual dimorphism in this early human species."
"Olduvai Hominid 5 (OH 5 [first image on the left]) is easily the most famous of the early human fossils found at Olduvai Gorge. It is a nearly complete cranium of an adult male P. boisei. Originally named Zinjanthropus boisei, its classification was changed to Australopithecus boisei and later Paranthropus boisei, placing it in the same genus as the southern African species."
"The South African species Paranthropus robustus provided the original standard for the robust cranial form: a large sagittal crest on the top of the skull, a flat face formed by large zygomatic arches positioned far forward and megadont cheek teeth. But with the discovery of "Zinj" in eastern Africa, a new level of robusticity was defined, sometimes called "hyper-robust". Notice the wide zygomatic arches which project forward of the nasal opening and form the dished-shape face typical of Paranthropus boisei. The outward flaring of these bony arches from the side of the head provided space for large temporalis muscles. These were the huge chewing muscles that passed from the lower jaw to the large sagittal crest atop the skull. In some cases, the megadont cheek teeth of Paranthropus boisei were four times the size of our own."
The "Zinj" fossil is about 1.8 million years old.
Endocranial volume ranges 430–545 cm3, mean 492, n = 8, 1.41–1.93 Ma.
Australopithecus sediba[edit | edit source]
"A 2 million-year-old ancestor of man had a mixture of ape and human-like features that allowed it to hike vast distances on two legs with as much ease as it could scurry up trees ... Discovered in cave near Johannesburg in 2008, the fossils of a species named Australopithecus sediba ... Standing about 1.3 meters (4 ft) tall, sediba had a narrow rib cage similar to apes but a flexible spine more similar to that of a human. Its long arms and powerful torso helped in climbing ... Sediba's small heel resembled a chimpanzee's and it walked with an inward rotation of the knee and hip on slightly twisted feet with a flat-footed gait that would have helped it cover ground".
"It is the perfect compromise of something that has the need to walk on the ground efficiently for long distances. At the same time, it is a very capable climber".
"The teeth also show a mix of human and primitive features, and provide new evidence that A. sediba is closely related to early humans ... It and an older South African species, A. africanus, appear more closely related to early humans than other australopithecines like the famous "Lucy" are".
"Its scapula or shoulder blade is most similar in shape to that of orangutans, the most arboreal or tree-dwelling of all the apes ... This suggests climbing was still an important part of its behavior and ecology. ... They're still capable of very powerful grips, which is what you'd need if you were climbing or suspended under a branch ... It looks like a hand good for both tools and climbing."
"The extinct species' teeth are a combination of primitive and humanlike traits. Their features suggest Au. sediba was a close relative of another southern African australopith known as Australopithecus africanus."
"Au. sediba stood a little more than 4 feet high (1.2 meters). Analysis of its spine revealed it had a humanlike curvature of the lower back. However, its lower back was longer and more flexible than modern humans, and more like primitive, extinct members of Homo."
"The broad thorax we have is unique to humans — the only mammal that doesn't have narrowing at the shoulders is humans ... We can lift our thorax to breathe, change the capacity for respiration, which is one of the main reasons humans are good long-distance runners. Chimpanzees don't have that."
Endocranial volume is 420 cm3, n = 1, 1.95 Ma.
Calabrian[edit | edit source]
"The [Calabrian] GSSP occurs at the base of the marine claystone conformably overlying sapropelic bed ‘e’ within Segment B in the Vrica section. This lithological level represents the primary marker for the recognition of the boundary, and is assigned an astronomical age of 1.80 Ma on the basis of sapropel calibration."
Paranthropus robustus[edit | edit source]
"Paranthropus robustus is an example of a robust australopithecine; they had very large megadont cheek teeth with thick enamel and focused their chewing in the back of the jaw. Large zygomatic arches (cheek bones) allowed the passage of large chewing muscles to the jaw and gave P. robustus individuals their characteristically wide, dish-shaped face. A large sagittal crest provided a large area to anchor these chewing muscles to the skull. These adaptations provided P. robustus with the ability of grinding down tough, fibrous foods. It is now known that ‘robust’ refers solely to tooth and face size, not to the body size of P. robustus."
"When scientist Robert Broom bought a fossil jaw fragment and molar in 1938 that didn’t look anything like some of the Au. africanus fossils he’d found during his career, he knew he was on to something different. After exploring Kromdraai, South Africa, the site where the curious fossils came from, Broom collected many more bones and teeth that together convinced him he had a new species which he named Paranthropus robustus (Paranthropus meaning “beside man”)."
"Robust species like Paranthropus robustus had large teeth as well as a ridge on top of the skull, where strong chewing muscles attached. These features allowed individuals to crush and grind hard foods such as nuts, seeds, roots, and tubers in the back of the jaw; however, P. robustus didn’t just eat tough foods. This early human species may have been more of a dietary generalist, also eating variety of other foods such as soft fruits and possibly young leaves, insects, and meat."
"While scientists have not found any stone tools associated with Paranthropus robustus fossils, experiments and microscopic studies of bone fragments show that these early humans probably used bones as tools to dig in termite mounds. Through repeated use, the ends of these tools became rounded and polished. Termites are rich in protein, and would have been a nutritious source of food for Paranthropus."
"From 1940s through 1970s, lots of debate whether this species represented the males of Au. africanus. Eventually, scientists recognized that the 'robust' forms were different enough to be in their own species, originally called Australopithecus robustus. Later, the three robust species (aethiopicus, boisei, and robustus) were recognized as being different enough from the other australopithecines - and similar enough to each other - to be placed into a separate genus, Paranthropus."
"SK 46 [image on the right] preserves the left half of the braincase and the nearly complete palate of Paranthropus robustus. The cheek teeth are nearly perfectly preserved; although the incisors and one canine tooth have been lost, their alveoli (the bony pits that hold the tooth roots) remain. Because these alveoli are still preserved, paleoanthropologists are able to reconstruct the size of the cheek teeth (molars and premolars) relative to the incisors and canines. This information can give clues about the dietary habits of this early human species. The large size of the cheek teeth relative to the front teeth suggests that Paranthropus robustus had a diet dominated by coarse vegetable matter. The large teeth provided a large occlusal area (the area where the upper and lower teeth contact each other during chewing). Think about a cow, or a horse, both of which eat large amounts of grass and other coarse plant foods. These animals have large cheek teeth and large chewing surfaces. By this kind of analogy and by direct study of microscopic wear on the tooth surfaces, scientists have determined that the large cheek teeth of robust australopiths were used for grinding tough, fibrous foods."
"The preserved portion of the cranium has other features typical of P. robustus, including large zygomatic arches and a prominent sagittal crest. These features are associated with large chewing muscles used in grinding tough foods."
Paranthropus robustus is between 1.8 and 1.5 million years old.
"Discovered in the debris pile at a cave site commercially mined for calcite, this skull [second down on the right] represented until recently the best preserved skull of any member of this species. SK 48 is the cranium of an adult robust australopith. Most of the skull (minus the lower jaw) is preserved and is relatively undistorted by the fossilization process, although some damage did occur when the specimen was dynamited out of the limestone deposits by miners. Preserved in the cranium were the right canine tooth and first premolar and all three left molars, indicating the individual was an adult at death."
"The flat face, caused by the anterior (frontward) position of the cheekbones, and the extremely large molars and premolars are typical traits of robust australopithecines. These traits are linked to the development of a chewing complex designed to process tough, fibrous foods. The anterior position of the cheekbones created more space for large chewing muscles to pass behind the zygomatic arch. The large molars and premolars provided large surfaces for grinding tough foods."
"The fossil was originally described by Robert Broom of the Transvaal Museum of South Africa. He inferred that the individual was a female based on the presence of a very small sagittal crest."
Endocranial volume ranges 465–500 cm3, mean 486, n = 3, 1.6–2.36 Ma.
Homo rudolfensis[edit | edit source]
"There is only one really good fossil of this Homo rudolfensis: KNM-ER 1470, from Koobi Fora in the Lake Turkana basin, Kenya. It has one really critical feature: a braincase size of 775 cubic centimeters, which is considerably above the upper end of H. habilis braincase size. At least one other braincase from the same region also shows such a large cranial capacity."
"Originally considered to be H. habilis, the ways in which H. rudolfensis differs is in its larger braincase, longer face, and larger molar and premolar teeth. Due to the last two features, though, some scientists still wonder whether this species might better be considered an Australopithecus, although one with a large brain!"
"Russian scientist V.P. Alexeev named the species in 1986 after Richard Leakey’s team uncovered Homo rudolfensis fossils near the shores of Lake Rudolf (now known as Lake Turkana) in 1972. Alexeev originally named the species Pithecanthropus rudolfensis, but the genus name Pithecanthropus was later replaced by Homo."
"Homo rudolfensis had large and wider molars compared to Homo habilis. While their teeth were only slightly smaller than those seen in robust australopithecines, H. rudolfensis didn’t have the heavily-built jaw and strong jaw muscle attachments seen in robust early humans. These anatomical differences likely indicate different diets between H. rudolfensis and earlier australopith species capable of more powerful chewing."
"Like other early Homo species, Homo rudolfensis may have used stone tools [to] process their food. However, because more than one species of early human lived at the time tool manufacture and use originated, it’s hard for scientists to be certain which species is responsible for the making and using the first stone tools. There are currently no stone tools found in the same layers as the H. rudolfensis fossils, but there are stone tools existing in the same time period that H. rudolfensis lived."
Most "scientists recognize four species that lived in the Turkana Basin, northern Kenya, sometime between 2.0 and 1.5 million years ago: Homo rudolfensis, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Paranthropus boisei."
"Over several weeks following its discovery, scientists Meave Leakey and Bernard Wood reconstructed KNM-ER 1470’s skull from more than 150 fragments, revealing a large cranium with a long, wide, flat face. While tooth roots show that this early human had large teeth, the skull lacked the massive jaw muscle features characteristic of robust australopithecines."
The fragments were discovered by Bernard Ngeneo.
Homo antecessor[edit | edit source]
"Homo antecessor, an early member of our genus from Europe, lived 1.2 million years ago."
On the right is one of five skulls unearthed in Europe. This particular one is from the Burgos dated to about 800,000 b2k.
"Stone artifacts from the Bose basin, South China, are associated with tektites dated to 803,000 ± 3000 years ago and represent the oldest known large cutting tools (LCTs) in East Asia."
Nebraskan glacial[edit | edit source]
Nebraskan glacial spans ca. 650,000-1,000,000 yr BP.
On the right is an image showing an "analysis of hominid tooth evolution, including specimens from Spanish Neandertals (top row), pushes back the age of a common Neandertal-human ancestor to more than 800,000 years ago. The bottom row shows Homo sapiens teeth."
"During hominid evolution, tooth crowns changed in size and shape at a steady rate."
"The Neandertal teeth, which date to around 430,000 years ago, could have evolved their distinctive shapes at a pace typical of other hominids only if Neandertals originated between 800,000 and 1.2 million years ago."
"If a common ancestor of present-day humans and Neandertals existed after around 1 million years ago, “there wasn’t enough time for Neandertal teeth to change at the rate [teeth] do in other parts of the human family tree” in order to end up looking like the Spanish finds."
"Many researchers have presumed that a species dubbed Homo heidelbergensis, thought to have inhabited Africa and Europe, originated around 700,000 years ago and gave rise to an ancestor of both Neandertals and Homo sapiens by roughly 400,000 years ago. Genetic evidence that Sima de los Huesos fossils came from Neandertals raised suspicions that a common ancestor with H. sapiens existed well before that [...]. Recent Neandertal DNA studies place that common ancestor at between 550,000 and 765,000 years old."
"Moving back the date of an evolutionary split between Neandertals and H. sapiens appears reasonable based on the new data. The timing of that split could still change, though, if further research modifies the Spanish fossils’ age."
"Other Spanish hominid teeth dating to nearly 800,000 years ago display some Neandertal features, supporting the new study’s conclusions."
Aftonian[edit | edit source]
"Clay deposition in the Piauí River floodplain around 436 ± 51.5 ka occurred during a warmer period of the Aftonian interglaciation, corresponding to isotope stage 12 (Ericson and Wollin, 1968)."
"Humans of 400,000 years ago were sophisticated big-game hunters. Complete hunting spears discovered in a German coal-mine puncture the idea that these people hadn't the technology or foresight to hunt systematically. Nearby peat deposits of a similar age were already known to contain remarkably well-preserved remains of large and small animals, fresh-looking stone tools, and even wooden implements."
"The oldest known weapons of organic material are 400,000-year-old wooden spears , approximately 2 million years younger than the earliest evidence for stone-tool use by hominids ."
"Stephen Munro from the Australian National University was studying a collection of fossilised bones of Homo erectus and mussel shells held by a museum in the Netherlands and collected from Java in the late 19th century. Closer examination of his photographs revealed man-made engravings on the mussel shells [image at top left and here on the right]. The engravings have been dated at between 430,000 and 540,000 years old. The previous oldest-known engravings were around 100,000 years old. It is unclear whether the pattern was intended as art, or served some other purpose. It is the first evidence of Homo erectus behaving in this way. The shells had been opened by drilling a hole through the shell, likely with a shark’s tooth, exactly at the point where the muscle is attached to the shell. This allows the shell to be opened, and the contents to be eaten."
Marine Isotope Stage 9[edit | edit source]
MIS Boundary 8/9 is at 300 ka.
The base of the Pre-Illinoian stage has been correlated to the top of Marine Isotope Stage 9 at 300,000 BP.
Marine Isotope Stage 8[edit | edit source]
"The [Jebel Irhoud site] Moroccan fossils [...] are roughly 300,000 years old. Remarkably, they indicate that early Homo sapiens had faces much like our own, although their brains differed in fundamental ways."
"We did not evolve from a single 'cradle of mankind' somewhere in East Africa. We evolved on the African continent."
"It now looks like Denisovans can be placed at the site from close to 300,000 years ago to about 50,000 years ago, with Neandertals there for periods in between."
MIS Boundary 7/8 is at 243 ka.
Marine Isotope Stage 7[edit | edit source]
This fossiliferous site dates to the late Marine Isotope Stage 7, around 190,000 years ago. It is part of a high level terrace of the River Orwell and it has European pond tortoises, lions, mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, horses and voles.
Age "estimates for hominin fossils found at Denisova [made] by comparing the remains’ mitochondrial DNA to reference DNA from other ancient human relatives [suggest] Denisovans could have been at the [Denisova Cave in Russia] as early as nearly 200,000 years ago."
Marine Isotope Stage 6[edit | edit source]
The base of the Illinoian stage and the top of the Pre-Illinoian stage correlates with the base of Marine Isotope Stage 6 at 191,000 BP.
"Two Denisovan fossils [...] analyzed were between roughly 90,000 and 140,000 years old and were older than Denisova 11, a hominin from the same cave who had one Denisovan parent and one Neanderthal parent."
Eemian interglacial[edit | edit source]
The "controversially split Eemian period, the predecessor of our own warm period about 125,000 years ago."
"The Eem interglaciation […] lasted from 131 to 117 kyr B.P."
The "Cerutti Mastodon (CM) site [is] an archaeological site from the early late Pleistocene epoch, where in situ hammerstones and stone anvils occur in spatio-temporal association with fragmentary remains of a single mastodon (Mammut americanum)."
"Five large cobbles (hammerstones and anvils) in the CM bone bed display use-wear and impact marks, and are hydraulically anomalous relative to the low-energy context of the enclosing sandy silt stratum."
"230Th/U radiometric analysis of multiple bone specimens using diffusion–adsorption–decay dating models indicates a burial date of 130.7 ± 9.4 thousand years ago."
The "presence of an unidentified species of Homo at the CM site during the last interglacial period (MIS 5e; early late Pleistocene), indicating that humans with manual dexterity and the experiential knowledge to use hammerstones and anvils processed mastodon limb bones for marrow extraction and/or raw material for tool production."
MIS Boundary 5/6 is at 130 ka.
Marine Isotope Sub-stage 5e[edit | edit source]
Sub-stage MIS 5e, called the Eemian or Ipswichian, covers the last major interglacial period before the Holocene, which extends to the present day.
MIS Boundary 5.5 (peak) is at 123 ka.
Sangamon Episode interglacial[edit | edit source]
"OSL dates also suggest that last interglacial (MIS 5; Sangamon Ep.) fluvial deposits are preserved locally."
Marine Isotope Stage 5[edit | edit source]
Marine Isotope Stage 5 or MIS 5 is a Marine Isotope Stage in the geologic temperature record, between 130,000 and 80,000 years ago.
"The Neanderthal fossils [from Denisova cave] examined dated from 80,000 to 140,000 years ago. The dates indicate that the two hominin groups crossed paths at the cave and may have even been interbreeding during that time."
Brørup interstadial[edit | edit source]
"More than 100,000 years ago in a Siberian cave there lived a child with a loose tooth."
"We only have relatively little data from this archaic group, so having any additional individuals is something we’re very excited about."
The "Denisova Cave [is] in the Altai Mountains [of Siberia where explorers] discovered the worn baby tooth in 1984."
"We think based on the DNA sequences that [the baby tooth] is at least 100,000 years, possibly 150,000 years old. Or a bit more. So far it makes it the oldest Denisovan. The baby tooth is at least 20,000 years older than the next oldest Denisovan specimen."
"This is four people in one cave and they have more variation than is in the Neanderthals, which are spread over 10,000 kilometers and over several hundreds of thousands of years."
On the left is an image of the Blombos Cave silcrete flake L13 displaying the drawn lines that form a cross-hatched pattern.
The "red ochre pigment was intentionally applied to the flake with an ochre crayon. The object comes from a level associated with stone tools of the Still Bay techno-complex that has previously yielded shell beads, cross-hatched engravings on ochre pieces and a variety of innovative technologies2–5."
Marine Isotope Stage 4[edit | edit source]
"During the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa, technological and behavioral innovations led to significant changes in the lifeways of modern humans. The glacial episode of Marine Isotope Stage 4, about 57-71,000 years ago, resulted in cooler and drier climatic conditions and the expansion of grassland vegetation. Sea level dropped by as much as 80 meters below its current level. During this period the cultural phase known as the Howieson’s Poort appeared across much of Southern Africa, peaking at about 60-65,000 years ago, and then disappeared. The lithic industry of the Howieson’s Poort is exemplified by changes in technology, such as the use of the punch technique, an increase in the selection of fine-grained silcrete, and the predominance of retouched pieces including backed tools, segments, scrapers and points. Segments are the type fossil of the Howieson’s Poort and represent multi-purpose armatures that were hafted onto wooden spear shafts. The standardized design and refined style of segments convey information about the behavior of their makers and provide insight about group identity. Increasing use of ochre, the presence of engraved ostrich eggshells, and a bone tool industry are associated with these stone artifacts. Also evident is an intensified use of space. Taken together, these behaviors suggest that the Howieson’s Poort represents a clear marker of modern human culture."
"Using stone tool residue analysis with supporting information from zooarchaeology, we provide evidence that at the Abri du Maras, Ardèche, France, Neanderthals [a skull is imaged on the left from Abri du Maras] were behaviorally flexible at the beginning of MIS 4. Here, Neanderthals exploited a wide range of resources including large mammals, fish, ducks, raptors, rabbits, mushrooms, plants, and wood. Twisted fibers on stone tools provide evidence of making string or cordage."
Odderade interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Odderade interstadial has a 14C date of 61-72 kyr B.P. and corresponds to GIS 21.
"Shanidar Cave is an archaeological site in the Bradsot mountain, Zagros Mountains in Erbil Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan. The site is located in the valley of the Great Zab. It was excavated from 1957–1961 by Ralph Solecki and his team from Columbia University and yielded the first adult Neanderthal skeletons in Iraq, dating between 60–80,000 years BP. The excavated area produced nine skeletons of Neanderthals of varying ages and states of preservation and completeness (labelled Shanidar I – IX). The tenth individual was recently discovered by M. Zeder during examination of a faunal assemblage from the site at the Smithsonian Institution. The remains seemed to Zeder to suggest that Neandertals had funeral ceremonies, burying their dead with flowers (although the flowers are now thought to be a modern contaminant), and that they took care of injured individuals. One skeleton and casts of the others at the Smithsonian Institution are all that is left of the findings, the originals having been dispersed in Iraq."
"The Shanidar Cave site is most famous for having two skeletons, I and IV. One was an elderly Neanderthal male known as Shanidar I, or ‘Nandy’ to its excavators. He was aged between 40 and 50 years, which was considerably old for a Neanderthal, equivalent to 80 years old today, and displays severe signs of deformity. He was one of four reasonably complete skeletons from the cave which displayed trauma-related abnormalities, which in his case would have been debilitating to the point of making day-to-day life painful. At some point in his life he had suffered a violent blow to the left side of his face, creating a crushing fracture to his left orbit which would have left Nandy partially or totally blind in one eye. He also suffered from a withered right arm which had been fractured in several places and healed, but which caused the loss of his lower arm and hand. This is thought to be either congenital, a result of childhood disease and trauma or due to an amputation later in his life. The arm had healed but the injury may have caused some paralysis down his right side, leading to deformities in his lower legs and foot and would have resulted in him walking with a pronounced, painful limp. All these injuries were acquired long before death, showing extensive healing and this has been used to infer that Neanderthals looked after their sick and aged, denoting implicit group concern. Shanidar I is not the only Neanderthal at this site, or in the entire archaeological record which displays both trauma and healing."
"Shanidar II was an adult male, who evidently died in a rock fall inside the cave, as his skull and bones were crushed. There is evidence that Shanidar II was given a ritual send-off: a small pile of stones with some worked stone points (made out of chert) were found on top of his grave. Also, there had been a large fire by the burial site."
"Shanidar III, another adult male, was buried in the same grave as Shanidar I and II. Shanidar III also suffered from a degenerative joint disorder (DJD) in his foot, which would have resulted in painful, limited movement. He also shows signs of arthritis. Research in 2009 suggests that Shanidar III may have been killed by a modern human (Homo sapiens sapiens), which led researchers to believe that there could have been inter-species aggression between the two groups."
"Of all the skeletons found at the cave, it is Shanidar IV which provides the best evidence for Neanderthal burial ritual. The skeleton of an adult male aged from 30–45 years was discovered in 1960 by Ralph Solecki and was positioned so that he was lying on his left side in a partial fetal position. Routine soil samples which were gathered for pollen analysis in an attempt to reconstruct the palaeoclimate and vegetational history of the site from around the body were analysed eight years after its discovery. In two of the soil samples in particular, whole clumps of pollen were discovered in addition to the usual pollen found throughout the site and suggested that entire flowering plants (or at least heads of plants) had entered the grave deposit. Furthermore, a study of the particular flower types suggested that the flowers may have been chosen for their specific medicinal properties. Yarrow, Cornflower, Bachelor's Button, St. Barnaby's Thistle, Ragwort or Groundsel, Grape Hyacinth, Joint Pine or Woody Horsetail and Hollyhock were represented in the pollen samples, all of which have long-known curative powers as diuretics, stimulants, astringents as well as anti-inflammatory properties. This led to the idea that the man could possibly have had shamanic powers, perhaps acting as medicine man to the Shanidar Neandertals. Recent work into the flower burial has suggested that perhaps the pollen was introduced to the burial by animal action as several burrows of a gerbil-like rodent known as the Persian Jird were found nearby. The jird is known to store large numbers of seeds and flowers at certain points in their burrows and this argument was used in conjunction with the lack of ritual treatment of the rest of the skeletons in the cave to suggest that the Shanidar IV burial had natural, not cultural, origins."
Karmøy stadial[edit | edit source]
The Karmøy stadial begins in the high mountains of Norway about 60 kyr B.P. and expands to the outer coast by 58 kyr B.P.
Oerel interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Oerel interstadial has a 14C date of 53-58 kyr B.P. and corresponds to GIS 15/16 with a GIS age of 56-59 kyr B.P.
"The most recent Denisovans checked in at around 55,000 years ago."
Ebersdorf Stadial[edit | edit source]
"Genetics suggests Neanderthal numbers dropped sharply around 50,000 years ago. This coincides with a sudden cold snap, hinting climate struck the first blow."
"The first humans probably reached Australia around 50,000 years ago, which is the age of the oldest human skeletons and tools found."
All "the Aborigines likely descend from a single population, which reached the Australian continent 50,000 years ago. Populations then spread rapidly – within 1,500 to 2,000 years – around the east and west coasts of Australia, meeting somewhere in South Australia. Over the following millennia, the population groups remained practically isolated."
"Australia 50,000 years ago was part of the same landmass as New Guinea. So that the first Aborigines could have reached New Guinea by way of South East Asia and then have gone farther to Australia. There, they settled in groups over the whole continent."
Many "groups of Aborigines used similar tools and shared a similar language. If humans did not move, how could tools and languages?"
Glinde interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Glinde interstadial has a 14C date of 48-50 kyr B.P. and corresponds to GIS ?13/14 with a GIS age of 49-54.5 kyr B.P.
Marine Isotope Stage 3[edit | edit source]
Initial excavations in the Mezmaiskaya cave (a prehistoric cave site overlooking the right bank of the Sukhoi Kurdzhips (a tributary of the Kurdzhips River) in the southern Russian Republic of Adygea, located in the northwestern foothills of the North Caucasus in the Caucasus Mountains system.) recovered Mousterian artifacts of the Last glacial period. The Late Middle Paleolithic stratigraphic layers at Mezmaiskaya are composed of 7 layers, dating from roughly 70,000 to 40,000 BP.
Three Neanderthal individuals were recovered from the cave. The first, Mezmaiskaya 1, was recovered in 1993 and is an almost complete skeleton in a well preserved state due to calcite cementation that covers and holds the arrangement in place. It was assessed to be an infant about two weeks old, making it the youngest Neanderthal ever recovered. Although no burial pit was found, circumstances suggest that the body was buried intentionally, explaining the good state of preservation and the lack of scavenger marks. Mesmaikaya 1 was recovered from Layer 3, the oldest Late Middle Paleolithic layer at the site. Mezmaiskaya 1 is indirectly dated to around 70-60,000 years old.
Additionally, 24 skull fragments of a 1-2 year-old Neanderthal child - Mezmaiskaya 2 - were found in 1994. A recovered tooth was assigned to Mezmaiskaya 3. Mezmaiskaya 2 was recovered from Layer 2, the youngest Late Middle Paleolithic layer, and directly dated to around 44,600-42,960 BP. DNA analysis reveals that Mesmaiskaya 2 was male.
Ancient DNA was recovered for a mtDNA sequence showing 3.48% divergence from that of the Kleine Feldhofer Grotte (Neanderthal 1), found some 2,500 km (1,600 mi) to the west in Germany. Phylogenetic analysis places these two specimen in a clade distinct from modern humans, suggesting that their mtDNA types have not contributed to the modern human mtDNA pool.
Mezmaiskaya 2 is genetically closer to other late European Neanderthals, including Neanderthals from Vindija Cave, Spy Cave and Goyet Caves, than the older Mesmaiskaya 1, which indicates that a population replacement of Neanderthals likely occurred in the Caucasus. This gap in time is consistent with Marine isotope stage 3.
Modern humans and Ust'-Ishim man share more alleles with all other Neanderthals, including Mezmaiskaya 1, than with the Altai Neanderthal from Denisova Cave, which shows that the introgression event from Neanderthals into humans likely took place after the split of the lineage of the Altai Neanderthal from that of other Neanderthals, but before the split of the lineage of Mezmaiskaya 1 and that of other Neanderthals.
Moershoofd interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Moershoofd interstadial has a 14C date of 44-46 kyr B.P. and corresponds to GIS 12 at 45-47 kyr B.P.
"One mystery that remains is who crafted the tools and pendants made of bone and animal teeth [in the image on the right] found in the [Denisova] cave and that were dated to between 43,000 and 49,000 years ago."
While some suspect it was the Denisovans, “my money would be on early modern humans, because these studies don’t place Denisovans at the cave more recently than 52,000 years ago."
"Direct radiocarbon dating of Upper Palaeolithic tooth pendants and bone points yielded the earliest evidence for the production of these artefacts in northern Eurasia, between 43,000 and 49,000 calibrated years before present (taken as ad 1950). On the basis of current archaeological evidence, it may be assumed that these artefacts are associated with the Denisovan population. It is not currently possible to determine whether anatomically modern humans were involved in their production, as modern-human fossil and genetic evidence of such antiquity has not yet been identified in the Altai region."
Hasselo stadial[edit | edit source]
The "Hasselo stadial [is] at approximately 40-38,500 14C years B.P. (Van Huissteden, 1990)."
The "Hasselo Stadial [is a glacial advance] (44–39 ka ago)".
"Modern humans replaced Neandertals ∼40,000 y ago. Close to the time of replacement, Neandertals show behaviors similar to those of the modern humans arriving into Europe, including the use of specialized bone tools, body ornaments, and small blades. [The] identification of a type of specialized bone tool, lissoir, previously only associated with modern humans [with] microwear preserved [...] is consistent with the use of lissoir in modern times to obtain supple, lustrous, and more impermeable hides. These tools are from a Neandertal context proceeding the replacement period and are the oldest specialized bone tools in Europe. As such, they are either a demonstration of independent invention by Neandertals or an indication that modern humans started influencing European Neandertals much earlier than previously believed."
Hengelo interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Hengelo interstadial [is] > 35 ka BP".
The "Hengelo Interstadial [is] (38–36 ka ago)."
Huneborg interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Huneborg interstadial is a Greenland interstadial dating 36.5-38.5 kyr B.P. GIS 8.
There is "a common origin for populations from Australia, New Guinea and the Mamanwa, a group from the Philippines. [Apparently] these groups split from one another about 36,000 years ago. This supports ideas that the groups descended from an ancient southwards migration out of Africa."
Ålesund Interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Ålesund interstadial began with GIS 6 and ended after GIS 8.
GIS 5[edit | edit source]
GIS 5 interstadial occurred during the Klintholm advance about 33.5 kyr B.P.
"The archeological evidence of human residence on [the Japanese] Archipelago goes back to >30 000 years [30,000 b2k.] Recent admixture with the Mainland Japanese was observed for more than one third of the Ainu individuals [...] The Ainu population seems to have experienced admixture with another population [...] The Ainu and the Ryukyuan are tightly clustered [...] the origins of the Jomon and the Yayoi people still remain to be solved."
"The Ancient NE Asian Race may well have been an Australoid type race. Australoid inputs were significant in the formation of the Caucasoid race. An ancient Caucasoid skull from Southern Russia from 33,000 YBP has been classed “Australoid” based on skull type."
Klintholm advance[edit | edit source]
This advance occurred after the Møn and ended with GIS 6.
Møn interstadial[edit | edit source]
The Møn interstadial corresponds to GIS 4.
GIS 3[edit | edit source]
The stronger GIS 3 interstadial occurred about 27.6 kyr B.P.
Letzteiszeitliches Maximum[edit | edit source]
"One wave was called Murrayians. This is an Ainu or Vedda-like group from the Thailand area. Skulls from Thailand 25,000 YBP resemble Aborigines."
"Australoid types were present long before in India and Southeast Asia as skulls from India and Thailand 25,000 YBP are said to resemble Aborigines."
GIS 2[edit | edit source]
The weak interstadial corresponding to GIS 2 occurred about 23.2 kyr B.P.
Jylland stade[edit | edit source]
"After c. 22 ka BP [is] during the Jylland stade (Houmark-Nielsen 1989)".
"There is a theory about the peopling of Australia that the present day Aborigines are not even the aboriginal people. The Kow Swamp people were an earlier group, and they were even more primitive than Aborigines. Some think the Kow Swamp person is not even Homo Sapiens. The skull is quite Erectus-like. It is nearly a relict hominid."
Oldest Dryas[edit | edit source]
"During the Late Weichselian glacial maximum (20-15 ka BP) the overriding of ice streams eventually lead to strong glaciotectonic displacement of Late Pleistocene and pre-Quaternary deposits and to deposition of till."
"The Murrayians are said to have come to Australia between 15-20,000 YBP. Logically these could have been these proto-Jomonese types from Thailand."
"Veddoids may have evolved in India over 18,000 YBP, so they are a very archaic race."
There "are very primitive people in Thailand 16,000 YBP whose skulls line up perfectly with the ancient Japanese Jomonese who later become the Ainu. There is still a Veddoid group in Thailand today called the Senoi."
The Chukchi "lived from 10-20,000 YBP and gave strong inputs to NE Asians and also most Caucasians, even Europeans. The race seemed to have characteristics similar to what a precursor to the Caucasian and NE Asian races would look like."
"[P]seudo-Caucasoid is, believe it or not a Ryukuyan Ainuid type."
Bølling Oscillation[edit | edit source]
The "intra-Bølling cold period [IBCP is a century-scale cold event and the] Bølling warming [occurs] at 14600 cal [calendar years, ~ b2k] BP (12700 14C BP)".
"The second wave to Australia according to the old model were the Carpinterians. They came 10-15,000 YBP and are thought to have come from India. Logically these were Indian Australoid/Veddoid types from the south. All Indians looked like Aborigines (Australoid) until 8,000 YBP. The transition towards Caucasoid only occurred in the last 8,000 years. It may well have been this Carpinterian group that brought the dingo digs along with themselves in a seaward movement to Australia ~13,000 YBP."
"Another group that may well be remnants of the Ancient NE Asians may be the Ainu, but they only showed up 14,000 YBP, and by that time, the Ancient Northeast Race was well underway. However, the Ainuid types seem to have spread out quite a bit. Remains from Northern China from 9,000 YBP appear Ainuid. Ainuid or Australoid types were the first people to come to the Americas. There are a few tribes left who seem to be the remnants of these ancient people. One was an extinct tribe in Baja California called the Guaycuru. I am thinking that the Gilyak may also be part of this ancient race. In phenotype, the Gilyak look more Japanese to me than anything else."
Older Dryas[edit | edit source]
"Older Dryas [...] events [occurred about 13,400 b2k]".
Mesolithic[edit | edit source]
The mesolithic period dates from around 13,000 to 8,500 b2k.
"13,000 YBP: Veddoids show up in far southern Japan (possibly Okinawa) as the Jomonese, the ancestors of the Ainu and the first people to settle Japan that we know of. They arrive here from Thailand. They appear to have gone from Thailand to Japan by boat. No one knows when they left Thailand or how [long] it took them to get to Japan, but sometime in that 5,000 year period from 18,000 YBP to 13,000 YBP, they [moved] in between Thailand and Japan by boat. Old anthropological theory said that a long time ago, one of the early peoples of the Philippines resembled what to me look like the Ainu, so they may have stopped in the Philippines at some point between 18,000 YBP and 13,000 YBP en route from Thailand to Japan by sea."
Neolithic[edit | edit source]
The base of the Neolithic is approximated to 12,200 b2k.
Allerød Oscillation[edit | edit source]
The "Allerød Chronozone, 11,800 to 11,000 years ago".
"In the Egyptian Western Desert, the beginnings of human occupation date as early as ca. 9300 BC."
"In the Egyptian Western Desert, part of the Eastern Sahara, the advent of the first humid interphase is dated to ca. 9300 BC and correlates with the first appearance of Neolithic humans there (Schild and Wendorf 2013). Neolithic pastoralists were then continuously present in this area for almost 6000 years, not departing until the middle of the third millennium BC (Applegate and Zedeño 2001)."
"[Before the pharaohs and pyramids of the Dynastic period starting about 3,100 BC], about 9,300-4,000 BC, enigmatic Neolithic peoples flourished. [It] was the lifestyles and cultural innovations of these peoples that provided the very foundation for the advanced civilisations to come."
"Along with fast and radical climatic changes in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of the Late Glacial and beginning of the Holocene, ca. 9550 BC (Alley et al. 1993; Lowe et al. 2008), the first signs of climatic improvement are readable in the early Preboreal period of the Sahara (Kuper and Kropelin 2006). In the Egyptian Western Desert, part of the Eastern Sahara, the advent of the first humid interphase is dated to ca. 9300 BC and correlates with the first appearance of Neolithic humans there (Schild and Wendorf 2013). Neolithic pastoralists were then continuously present in this area for almost 6000 years, not departing until the middle of the third millennium BC (Applegate and Zedeño 2001)."
Settlements "along the shores of temporary paleo-lakes (or playa) of the Nabta-Kiseiba region, within frameworks of chronostratigraphic units and correlated with major climatic fluctuations [four] occupation periods were defined: Early (ca. 9300–6150 BC), Middle (ca. 6050–5550 BC), Late (ca. 5500–4650 BC), and Final Neolithic (ca. 4600–3600 BC), each separated by dry periods manifested by remarkable eolian sedimentation and erosion."
"In 2009, a few hundred meters from the Gebel Ramlah paleo-lake shore, [...] one of the most unique Neolithic burial complexes known in northeastern Africa and beyond [was discovered]. It included a cemetery for the burial of infants, which was placed next to a much larger cemetery for older children, juveniles, and adults. Both areas date to the Final Neolithic period (site E-09-02). Single graves and small aggregations of graves from different Neolithic phases were also found in the vicinity. Other cemeteries and single burials were located as well nearby [...]. Together, they form an exceptional interment area that was used for millennia by Neolithic herders."
"Gebel Ramlah is a pronounced, rocky massif on the landscape [see the third image down on the right] that rises approximately 100 m above the surrounding desert floor [...]. To the south, a lake existed during the early and middle Holocene that would have measured some 2.5 km long by 0.6 km wide [...]. Morphology of the shore zone, modified by erosion and deflation, is diversified. Northern shores, located near the steep southern slopes of the Gebel, are morphologically uniform with clearly visible lake terraces, cut by short stream channels (wadi) draining waters from the Gebel to the lake. The more diversified landscape of the southern and western shores is dominated by large and wide river channels with numerous smaller tributaries that delivered waters from a vast catchment area to the lake. Hillocks and large peninsulas between the channels and gentle slopes are typical. They are significantly more extensive in size than those on the northern shore. Lastly, the eastern edges of the lake are mostly covered by sand dunes but, where observation is possible, the banks’ slopes appear to be gentle."
"During the course of survey, evidence of a diverse human occupation was recorded including large, long-term settlements, small occupations, short-lived camps, and traces of penetrations. In a chronological/cultural perspective, the earliest evidence of human presence dates to the Early Neolithic (El Adam and El Ghorab units) and the most intensive occupation developed during the climatic optimum of the Holocene (El Jerar unit), followed by more sparse Middle, Late, and Final Neolithic settlements (Czekaj-Zastawny et al. 2017)."
"A concentration of six cemeteries, grave clusters, and single burials comprising the most unusual mortuary grounds of Neolithic pastoralists recorded in the Western Desert, were discovered and excavated. The earliest evidence of mortuary practices, in the form of single separate burials, is radiocarbon-dated to the second half of the Early Neolithic (ca. 6500 BC), followed by Middle and Late Neolithic burials. Only later, at the advent of the Final Neolithic (ca. 4500 BC), were actual cemeteries were established."
"In 2001-2003 we excavated three cemeteries from this era – the first in the western desert – where we uncovered and studied 68 skeletons. The graves were full of artefacts, with ornamental pottery, sea shells, stone and ostrich eggshell jewellery [see last image on the right]. We also discovered carved mica (a silicate mineral) and animal remains, as well as elaborate cosmetic tools for women and stone weapons for men."
Holocene[edit | edit source]
The Holocene starts at ~11,700 b2k and extends to the present.
Younger Dryas[edit | edit source]
The "Alleröd/Younger Dryas transition [occurred] some 11,000 years ago [11,000 b2k]."
Pre-Boreal transition[edit | edit source]
The last glaciation appears to have a gradual decline ending about 12,000 b2k. This may have been the end of the Pre-Boreal transition.
"The very first people to the Americas were Australoids. On skulls, they would resemble Aborigines, as Aborigines are Australoids. The early Amerind skulls look Australoid. Some look like Melanesians or Ainu. Melanesian and Ainu skulls are Australoid. As the early Amerinds came from the north, perhaps the early Amerinds were linked to the Ainuids. We know that skulls from NE Asia before 9,000 YBP look like Aborigines."
"About 9000 years ago the temperature in Greenland culminated at 4°C warmer than today. Since then it has become slowly cooler with only one dramatic change of climate. This happened 8250 years ago [...]. In an otherwise warm period the temperature fell 7°C within a decade, and it took 300 years to re-establish the warm climate. This event has also been demonstrated in European wooden ring series and in European bogs."
"The DNA of the Windover People is Asian. The Caucasian appearance may be similar to Kennowick Man who comes from about that same time frame (Kennowick Man 9,000 YBP Windover People 7,500 YBP), however Kennowick Man only appears Caucasoid because he is sort of an Ainuid."
"Kennowick Man’s skull plots most closely with the Ainu and the Moiriori, an extinct Melanesianized Polynesian people from the Chatham Islands. The Ainu are Australoid and the Moriori were a heavily Australoid Polynesian type."
"Hence the Windover People are probably Australoids."
"The last remains of the American ice sheet disappeared about 6000 years ago [6,000 b2k], the Scandinavian one 2000 years earlier [8,000 b2k]."
">10,500-year-old human-modified bones for the extinct elephant birds Aepyornis and Mullerornis, [in the image on the right] show perimortem chop marks, cut marks, and depression fractures consistent with immobilization and dismemberment."
"Our evidence for anthropogenic perimortem modification of directly dated bones represents the earliest indication of humans in Madagascar, predating all other archaeological and genetic evidence by >6000 years and changing our understanding of the history of human colonization of Madagascar."
"Madagascar’s Holocene vertebrate megafauna included giant lemurs, hippopotami, giant tortoises, and the world’s largest birds—the elephant birds [Aepyornithidae, ~500 kg (1)]. This megafauna is now completely extinct, with the largest surviving endemic vertebrates less than 10 kg in body mass (2). Representatives of all of Madagascar’s extinct megafauna are known to have survived into the Holocene (2), with last-occurrence dates for all genera between ~2400 and 500 years before present (B.P.), suggesting that human activities, rather than climatic shifts, were responsible for the extinction of these animals."
"The Christmas River (Ilaka) site [...] is a wetland ecosystem from early Holocene Madagascar containing a well-preserved faunal assemblage (39). It is located on the east of the southernmost region of the Isalo sandstone massif near a tributary of the Ihazofotsy River and Ilakabe village (22°46′257″ S, 45°21′802″ E). The bedrock of the region is Permian and Triassic in age and belongs to the Karroo group of the Morondava basin. The bedrock is overlain by recent sediments that include layers of beige sandy soil, black clay, and a highly fossiliferous 13- to 15-m-deep layer of slate gray clay. The vertebrate fauna documented from the fossiliferous "bone bed" in the slate gray clay layer comprises ~600 vertebrate specimens, including Aepyornis and other extinct megafaunal taxa (crocodiles; tortoises; the carnivoran Cryptoprocta spelea; the giant lemurs Archaeolemur sp., Pachylemur insignis, and Megaladapis edwardsi; and the dwarf hippopotamus H. lemerlei) (39)."
"Previously published AMS dates from multiple vertebrate taxa and from wood present in the bone bed indicate a wet phase between ~11,000 and 9000 years B.P., and strata directly above the bone bed are consistent with increased regional aridity later in the Holocene (39). Two skeletal elements from a single Aepyornis maximus individual (collected by E. Simons as an articulated pair) from the bone bed show perimortem anthropogenic modification [...]. Bone collagen samples from USNM A605209 were directly dated at two separate AMS radiocarbon facilities, with a combined calibrated date range of 10,721 to 10,511 years B.P. [...]."
"A tibiotarsus from [USNM A605209; image on the right] contains ossified medullary bone in the cortex, indicating that the individual was a gravid adult female. The diaphysis exhibits two depression fractures, one on the anterior fascia of the proximal surface and another on the lateral portion of the posterior fascia of the distal surface, which may be hobbling impact marks from immobilizing the animal. A large, laterally oriented linear anthropogenic mark is also present on the medial condyle of the distal process, ending in a large undefined fragmentation of the anterior medial portion of the condyle and exposing a rough and uneven trabecular surface. Bevels are oriented centrally with an off-center v-shaped floor biased toward the anterior. The mark penetrates through cortical tissue, leaving exposed trabeculae forming both wall aspects. Groove edges are defined at the medial limit, becoming undefined at the center. The groove is rugose with varying relief in posterior aspect, characteristic of perimortem damage caused by a lithic tool (35), and is smooth and straight in anterior aspect. The lack of undefined cracking extending away from the central extremity of the mark indicates that this kerf was made upon fresh bone, and the homogeneous coloration of the bone surface and exposed fascia also indicates that it was made before deposition. A secondary anthropogenic linear groove is present off-center of the medial fascia, oriented toward the missing anterior medial condyle and with similar kerf morphology. The posterior-lateral bevel edge is defined at the anterior-medial end and undefined from the center to the posterior-lateral end. The morphology and orientation of the cleft and kerf are consistent with disarticulation at the intertarsal joint, including high-impact chopping actions associated with disarticulation of large animals (35, 38)."
In the image on the right is shown "A. maximus tibiotarsus (USNM A605209). (A) Depression fracture on the anterior fascia of the proximal end of A. maximus tibiotarsus (USNM A605209) from Christmas River (USNM A605209). (B) Depression fracture on the lateral aspect of the posterior fascia. (C) Distal aspect of tibiotarsus, showing two cut marks (TajT-3 and TT-4). (D) Close-up and profile of cut mark TT-3 on the medial condyle of the distal articular process (digital thin section shows the wall and kerf floor of the mark)."
Boreal transition[edit | edit source]
"In recent years, the German oak chronology has been extended to 7938 BC [9938 b2k]. For earlier intervals, tree-ring chronologies must be based on pine, because oak re-emigrated to central Europe at the Preboreal/Boreal transition, at about 8000 BC [10,000 b2k]."
"The age range, 7145-7875 BC [9145-9875 b2k], is represented by the oak chronology, 'Main9'."
"The age range, 7833-9439 BC [9833-11439 b2k], is covered by the 1784-yr pine chronology."
Ancient history[edit | edit source]
The ancient history period dates from around 8,000 to 3,000 b2k.
Atlantic history[edit | edit source]
The "Atlantic period [is] 4.6–6 ka [4,600-6,000 b2k]."
The petroglyph on the right contains spirals way over to the right in the image. This petroglyph is IV-II millemium BCE and shows a cup-and-ring mark and deer hunting scenes.
These petroglyphs from Galicia look like the petroglyphs from the Canary Islands shown on the left.
Bronze Age[edit | edit source]
The bronze age history period began between 5,300 and 2,600 b2k.
Substantial "gene flow from Indian populations into Australia about 4,230 years ago [has been detected which] appears in about 10 percent of the aboriginal Australian populations [...] analyzed. At about the same time, the dingo first appears in the Australian fossil record, an animal that most closely resembles Indian dogs. [There was] a sudden shift in stone tool technologies, with new implements known as the Small Tool Tradition appearing for the first time" in Australia. These represented stone tools that were smaller and more finely worked than before."
"The migration happened about 4,000 years ago. By that time, people [had] lived in Australia for more than 40,000 years."
Early history[edit | edit source]
The early history period dates from around 3,000 to 2,000 b2k.
The Guanches are believed to be the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands perhaps as early as 3,000 b2k.
The first image on the right shows examples of Guanches pottery.
The second image down on the right is one of the Pyramids of Guimar, Canary Islands.
The "Guanches built several small step pyramids on the islands, using the same model as those found in ancient Egypt and in Mesopotamia."
"The pyramids have an east-west alignment which also indicates that they probably had a religious [or astronomical] purpose, associated with the rise and setting of the sun."
"Carefully built stairways on the west side of each pyramid lead up to the summit, which in each case has a flat platform covered with gravel, possibly used for religious or ceremonial purposes."
They "shared a number of cultural characteristics with the ancient Egyptians and [...] their building style appears to have been replicated in South and Central America."
The mummies on the left have red hair, the third down has blonde, and other Nordic features of the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands.
"An examination of one of the mummies' bodies showed incisions that virtually matched those found in Egyptian mummies, although the string used by the Guanche embalmers to close the wounds was much coarser than would have been used by the Egyptian experts."
"Like the Celtic Tocharians, the finest evidence of what the original Guanche looked like, is in the fortuitous existence of original Guanche mummies, which are on public display in that island group's national museum."
"As the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands were fair-haired and bearded, it was possible [...] that long before the 15th Century, people of the same stock as those who settled the Canary Islands, also sailed the same route along the Canary Current that took Christopher Columbus to the Americas."
"According to the Aztec and Olmec (Central American Amerind) legends, their god, Quetzalcoatl, had Nordic features (eyes and hair color) and a beard. This god came from over the sea and taught the Amerinds how to raise corn and build structures."
"The existence of the red-haired Guanches on the Canary Islands, combined with the red-haired pre-Columbus mummies found in South America and the marked similarity in pyramid building styles, indicate that an over the atlantic people probably used the Canaries Current to cross the Atlantic, most likely between 2000 and 500 BC."
"The original occupants of the Canary Islands were a native people called the Guanche. Their mummies have been found with red hair and blond hair. Reportedly, the men were around 7 feet and the women around 6 feet."
"Generally dolichocephalic, fair-featured with blond or red-hair, with males over six foot tall and women approaching six feet in height, they were a people of tall, strong and comely appearance, resembling many Northern Europeans today but for a generally greater and more robust stature. Their general appearance and racial characteristic were valued by the Spanish: "All historians agree in reporting that the Canarians were beautiful. They were tall, well built and of singular proportion. They were also robust and courageous with high mental capacity. Women were very beautiful and Spanish Gentlemen often used to take their wives among the population.""
The third image down on the right is a statue made by an unknown Guanches, as is the fourth image down on the right. It is apparently of an entity called Guatimac.
Subboreal history[edit | edit source]
The "period around 850-760 BC [2850-2760 b2k], characterised by a decrease in solar activity and a sharp increase of Δ 14C [...] the local vegetation succession, in relation to the changes in atmospheric radiocarbon content, shows additional evidence for solar forcing of climate change at the Subboreal - Subatlantic transition."
The "Holocene climatic optimum in this interior part of Asia [Lake Baikal] corresponds to the Subboreal period 2.5–4.5 ka".
Although the spirals in the image on the right are undated, they may have been made as early as the Subboreal. These spirals on the Canary Islands are similar to ones found in Galicia, which is north of Portugal.
Subatlantic history[edit | edit source]
The "calibration of radiocarbon dates at approximately 2500-2450 BP [2500-2450 b2k] is problematic due to a "plateau" (known as the "Hallstatt-plateau") in the calibration curve [...] A decrease in solar activity caused an increase in production of 14C, and thus a sharp rise in Δ 14C, beginning at approximately 850 cal (calendar years) BC [...] Between approximately 760 and 420 cal BC (corresponding to 2500-2425 BP [2500-2425 b2k]), the concentration of 14C returned to "normal" values."
The petroglyphs in the image on the right have not been dated, but could be from the subatlantic period.
A more varied set of petroglyphs in the second image on the right is in the Cave of Belmaco. The entrance to which is shown on the left.
"There are drawings of Jomonese types even from Korea that show them as very robust types that do look quite Ainuid. It’s now known that the Ainu are a cold-adapted Australoid type by skulls, although their genes look Japanese and Korean. There has long been thought to be an Austronesian-like layer in Japanese which would logically go back to the ancient language spoken by these immigrants from Thailand. In other words, quite a few of the Japanese came up from the far south from SE Asia long ago. These earlier people mixed by Yayoi from Korea who invaded 2,300 YBP and slowly conquered the Ainu up the peninsula to the Far North. This conquest was apparently still underway in the modern era. The Japanese gene pool is ~20% Ainu."
Classical history[edit | edit source]
The classical history period dates from around 2,000 to 1,000 b2k.
On the right are "pre-Columbian wall paintings which can be found in the Temple of the Warriors, Chichen Itza, on the east coast of Mexico. The first [on the right] depicts prisoners after their capture by the dark-skinned natives, and the second [down on the right], shows a man with long blond hair being sacrificed."
The map on the left shows the current geographical locations of anthropological remains from various northeastern populations of OK, Okhotsk; UL, Ulichi; NV, Nivkhi; NG, Negidal; AI, Ainu; HJ, Hokkaido Jomon; JP, Mainland Japanese; CN, Chinese; KR, Korean; UD, Udegey; KY, Koryak; IT, Itelmen; ES, Eskimo; CH, Chukuchi; EV, Evenki; BR, Buryat; TF, Tofalar; TV, Tuvan; TB, Tubalar; NS, Nganasan; KT, Ket; MN, Mansi.
"The Okhotsk culture developed around the southern coastal regions of the Okhotsk Sea during the 5th–13th centuries (Amano, 2003a)."
"The Okhotsk culture differs in certain respects from the Epi-Jomon culture (3rd century BC–7th century AD) and the Satsumon culture (8th–14th centuries: Amano, 2003b), which were contemporary with the Okhotsk culture and developed in the southern and inner parts of Hokkaido Island."
The "Okhotsk people [may have] merged with the Satsumon people (a direct ancestoral lineage of the Ainu people) on Hokkaido, resulting in the establishment of the Ainu people (Utagawa, 2002)."
The "Okhotsk people were closely related to the Ulchi, Ainu, and Negidal."
The "Koryak are closely related to the Okhotsk people [...]."
Guanches in 1496[edit | edit source]
The image on the right hangs in the interior of the ayuntamiento of San Cristobal de La Laguna, Tenerife.
The painting on the right shows the surrender of the Guanches kings of Tenerife to Ferdinand and Isabella. This appears to have occurred c. 504 b2k.
The painting on the left was painted in 1764. It depicts the surrender of the Guanches leaders Bencomo mencey with Tacoronte, Anaga and Tegueste to Governor Alonso Fernández de Lugo with his captains and noble friends, by bringing gifts to the governor.
Ainu in 1860s[edit | edit source]
The Ainu are a people inhabiting the Northern island of Yesso. They differ from the Japanese in language and race. Their origin is lost in a wild and fabulous tradition. The legend runs thus—“That the race owes its preservation to a doll which swam across from Corea to the uninhabited island of Yesso.” They were conquered some three hundred years ago by the Japanese.
The colorized photograph on the right is from between 1863 and 1870 (137-130 b2k).
The map shows their widest expanse historically.
Hypotheses[edit | edit source]
- Hominoids with brain sizes larger than a gorilla may have been driven to extinction by Homo sapiens.
- Hominins include any primate that walks upright.
See also[edit | edit source]
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