Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

12.8: Key Terms

  • Page ID
    • Keith Chan

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    African multiregionalism: The idea that modern Homo sapiens evolved as a complex web of small regional populations with sporadic gene flow among them.

    Agriculture: The mass production of resources through farming and domestication.

    Aquaculture: The farming of fish using techniques such as trapping, channels, and artificial ponds.

    Assimilation hypothesis: Current theory of modern human origins stating that the species evolved first in Africa and interbred with archaic humans of Europe and Asia.

    Atlatl: A handheld spear thrower that increased the force of thrown projectiles.

    Band: A small group of people living together as foragers.

    Beringia: Ancient landmass that connected Siberia and Alaska. The ancestors of Indigenous Americans would have crossed this area to reach the Americas.

    Carrying capacity: The amount of organisms that an environment can reliably support.

    Coastal Route model: Theory that the first Paleoindians crossed to the Americas by following the southern coast of Beringia.

    Early Modern Homo sapiens, Early Anatomically Modern Human: Terms used to refer to transitional fossils between archaic and modern Homo sapiens that have a mosaic of traits. Humans like ourselves, who mostly lack archaic traits, are referred to as Late Modern Homo sapiens and simply Anatomically Modern Humans.

    Egalitarian: Human organization without strict ranks. Foraging societies tend to be more egalitarian than those based on other subsistence strategies.

    Foraging: Lifestyle consisting of frequent movement through the landscape and acquiring resources with minimal storage capacity.

    Generalist-specialist niche: The ability to survive in a variety of environments by developing local expertise. Evolution toward this niche may have been what allowed modern Homo sapiens to expand past the geographical range of other human species.

    Globalization: A recent increase in the interconnectedness and interdependence of people that is facilitated with long-distance networks.

    Globular: Having a rounded appearance. Increased globularity of the braincase is a trait of modern Homo sapiens.

    Gracile: Having a smooth and slender quality; the opposite of robust.

    Holocene: The epoch of the Cenozoic Era starting around 12,000 years ago and lasting arguably through the present.

    Ice-Free Corridor model: Theory that the first Native Americans crossed to the Americas through a passage between glaciers.

    Institutions: Long-lasting and influential cultural constructs. Examples include government, organized religion, academia, and the economy.

    Last Glacial Maximum: The time 23,000 years ago when the most recent ice age was the most intense.

    Later Stone Age: Time period following the Middle Stone Age with a diversification in tool types, starting around 50,000 years ago.

    Levant: The eastern coast of the Mediterranean. The site of early modern human expansion from Africa and later one of the centers of agriculture.

    Megafauna: Large ancient animals that may have been hunted to extinction by people around the world.

    Mental eminence: The chin on the mandible of modern H. sapiens. One of the defining traits of our species.

    Microlith: Small stone tool found in the Later Stone Age; also called a bladelet.

    Middle Stone Age: Time period known for Mousterian lithics that connects African archaic to modern Homo sapiens.

    Monumental architecture: Large and labor-intensive constructions that signify the power of the elite in a sedentary society. A common type is the pyramid, a raised crafted structure topped with a point or platform.

    Mosaic: Composed from a mix or composite of traits.

    Neolithic Revolution: Time of rapid change to human cultures due to the invention of agriculture, starting around 12,000 years ago.

    Ochre: Iron-based mineral pigment that can be a variety of yellows, reds, and browns. Used by modern human cultures worldwide since at least 80,000 years ago.

    Sahul: Ancient landmass connecting New Guinea and Australia.

    Sedentarism: Lifestyle based on having a stable home area; the opposite of nomadism.

    Southern Dispersal model: Theory that modern H. sapiens expanded from East Africa by crossing the Red Sea and following the coast east across Asia.

    Subsistence strategy: The method an organism uses to find nourishment and other resources.

    Sunda: Ancient Asian landmass that incorporated modern Southeast Asia.

    Supraorbital torus: The bony brow ridge across the top of the eye orbits on many hominin crania.

    Upper Paleolithic: Time period considered synonymous with the Later Stone Age.

    Urbanization: The increase of population density as people settled together in cities.

    Wallacea: Archipelago southeast of Sunda with different biodiversity than Asia.

    Younger Dryas: The rapid change in global climate—notably a cooling of the Northern Hemisphere—13,000 years ago.

    This page titled 12.8: Key Terms is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Keith Chan (Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.