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11: Archaic Homo

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    Amanda Wolcott Paskey, M.A., Cosumnes River College

    AnnMarie Beasley Cisneros, M.A., American River College

    Learning Objectives

    • Describe the unique anatomical and cultural characteristics of archaic Homo sapiens in contrast to other hominins.
    • Articulate how archaic Homo sapiens fossils fit into anatomical evolutionary trends including brain size development, as well as cultural innovations and distribution throughout the Old World.
    • Explain how shifting environmental conditions required flexibility of adaptations, both anatomically and culturally, for hominin survival and the potential consequences of a high degree of specialization.
    • Recognize that while archaic Homo sapiens share similarities, they are characterized by significant regional variation and local adaptation.
    • Detail the increased complexity and debates surrounding archaic Homo sapiens’ classification in light of transitional species, species admixture, etc.

    About the Authors

    Amanda Wolcott Paskey

    Amanda Wolcott Paskey

    Amanda Wolcott Paskey is an anthropology professor at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in anthropology from the University of California, Davis. Her speciality in anthropology is archaeology; however, she was trained in a holistic program and most of her teaching load is in biological anthropology. She is currently working on analyzing a post–gold rush era archaeological site, in Sacramento, with colleagues and students. This project has given her many opportunities to engage in sharing archaeology with a public audience, including local school children and Sacramentans interested in local history.

    AnneMarie Beasley Cisneros

    AnneMarie Beasley Cisneros

    AnneMarie Beasley Cisneros is an anthropology professor at American River College in Sacramento, California. Trained as a four-field anthropologist, she earned her B.A. and M.A. in anthropology from California State University, Sacramento. She regularly teaches biological anthropology, among other courses, and is currently engaged in applied anthropology work in community development with historically underserved communities. She most recently has particularly enjoyed facilitating her students’ involvement in projects serving Sacramento’s Latino and immigrant Mexican populations.

    About the Special Topic: Ancient DNA Author

    Robyn Humphreys

    Robyn Humphreys is a biological anthropologist based in the archaeology department at the University of Cape Town. Her MSc focused on the role of hybridization in human evolution. She is now pursuing her Ph.D., which will involve looking at the relationship between archaeologists and communities in relation to research on human remains from historical sites in Cape Town.

    For Further Exploration

    Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins—American Museum of Natural History

    “Dawn of Humanity,” PBS documentary, 2015

    “DNA Clues to Our Inner Neanderthal,” TED Talk by Svante Pääbo, 2011.

    “The Dirt” Podcast, Episode 30 “The Human Family Tree (Shrub? Crabgrass? Tumbleweed?), Part 3: Very Humany Indeed”

    E Fossil games and activities

    “Hobbits on Flores, Indonesia” Smithsonian Human Origins

    Shanindar 3—Neanderthal Skeleton—Smithsonian Human Origins

    Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program Facebook page (@smithsonian.humanorigins)

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    The authors would like to extend their thanks to Cassandra Gilmore and Anna Goldfield for thoughtful and insightful suggestions on this chapter.

    Figure Attributions

    Figure 11.1 Big head primitive caveman nose man bone cave at Max Pixel has been designated to the public domain (CC0).

    Figure 11.2 All paleotemps by Glen Fergus is used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 License.

    Figure 11.3 Homo erectus, archaic Homo sapiens, and anatomically modern Homo sapiens table original to Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology is under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.4 Homo heidelbergensis Cranium Broken Hill 1 (Rhodesian Man) by ©BoneClones is used by permission and available here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.5 Homo heidelbergensis Skull Atapuerca 5 by ©BoneClones is used by permission and available here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.6 Neanderthal distinguishing features table original to Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology is under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.7 Neanderthal Skeleton Articulated by ©BoneClones is used by permission and available here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.8 Nucléus Levallois La-Parrilla by José-Manuel Benito Álvarez is used under a CC BY-SA 2.5 License,

    Figure 11.9 NHM – Levalloiskern by Wolfgang Sauber is used under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.10a Homo neanderthalensis Shanidar 1 Skull by ©BoneClones is used by permission and available here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.10b Shanidar 1 by Smithsonian [exhibit: Human Evolution Evidence, Human Fossils, Species, Homo neanderthalensis] is copyrighted and used for educational and non-commercial purposes as outlined by the Smithsonian.

    Figure 11.11 Neandertala homo, modelo en Neand-muzeo (image was taken in the Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann, Germany) by UNiesert is used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 License.

    Figure 11.12 DNA extraction by Robyn Humphreys original to Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology is under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.13 Homo sapiens lineage by Dbachmann is used under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.14 Introgressed Neanderthal DNA in a modern human genome by Robyn Humphreys original to Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology is under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.15 Dinaledi skeletal specimens (Figure 1) by Berger, Lee R. et al. 2015. “Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.” eLife 2015;4:e09560 (DOI: 10.7554/eLife.09560) is used under a CC BY 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.16 LES1 Cranium (Figure 5) by Hawks et al. 2017. “New fossil remains of Homo naledi from the Lesedi Chamber, South Africa”. eLife 2017;6:e24232. (DOI:10.7554/eLife.24232) is used under a CC BY 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.17 Homo floresiensis cave by Rosino is used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 License.

    Figure 11.18 Homo floresiensis Skull (Flores Skull LB1) by ©BoneClones is used by permission and available here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    Figure 11.19 Anatomically modern human and Homo floresiensis reconstruction original to Explorations: An Open Invitation to Biological Anthropology by Mary Nelson is under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

    This page titled 11: Archaic Homo is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Beth Shook, Katie Nelson, Kelsie Aguilera, & Lara Braff, Eds. (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.