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Chapter 9
The Global Expansion of Homo
sapiens and Their Technology
Chapter Preview
When Did Anatomically Modern
Forms of Homo sapiens Appear?
What Is the Relationship Between
Middle Paleolithic Homo and Modern
Homo sapiens?
What Was the Culture of Upper
Paleolithic Peoples Like?
When Did Anatomically Modern
Forms of Homo sapiens
The remains of ancient people who looked
more like contemporary Europeans than
Neandertals were discovered in 1868 at Les
Eyzies in France, in a rock shelter together
with tools of the Upper Paleolithic.
Consisting of eight skeletons, they are
commonly referred to as Cro-Magnons,
after the rock shelter in which they were
This Cro-Magnon skull shows evidence for a
possible fungal infection on the forehead.
Cro-Magnons and Anatomical
Modernity: For Class
Compare this CroMagnon skull (bottom)
with the skull of a
Neandertal (top).
What traits do they have
in common? What traits
are different?
Cro-Magnons and Anatomical
Modernity: For Class
Cro-Magnons resemble later populations: in
braincase shape, high broad forehead, narrow nasal
openings, and common presence of chins their
Like Neandertals, their brow ridges were a bit more
prominent, their teeth and jaws were just as large,
and some display the distinctive occipital bun of the
Defining Modernity
Defining what is “anatomically modern” is
surprisingly difficult.
If we rely on the brain sizes of modern
people, this had already been achieved by
archaic H. sapiens.
Neandertals had average brain sizes 10%
larger than modern populations.
Defining Modernity
Using the reduction of body size is also not
helpful because there are modern
populations (like Australian aborigines) that
are as robust as Neandertals.
No biological diagnosis of anatomical
modernity can be both exclusive of archaic
populations and inclusive of all
contemporary humans!
Defining Modernity: For
Class Discussion
Examine these skulls from 20th
century Australian aborigines.
How are they similar to archaic
Homo sapiens, Neandertals, or
even Homo erectus?
Defining Modernity
Defining modernity in terms of culture
also raises some questions.
Behavioral modernity is often
associated with the new technologies
and expressive arts of the Upper
The Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic tool kits are known for a
preponderance of blade tools, with flint
flakes at least twice as long as they are
The earliest blade tools come from sites in
The Upper Paleolithic archaeological record
also contains a proliferation of expressive
arts such as portable figurines and cave art.
What Is the Relationship
Between Middle Paleolithic
Homo and Modern Homo
The Human Origins
Some propose that Neandertals, evolved into
anatomically modern versions of Homo sapiens as
different features of modern anatomy were carried to
them through gene flow.
Other propose that anatomically modern humans
with superior cultural capabilities appeared first in
Africa about 200,000 years ago, replacing existing
archaic forms as they spread from Africa to the rest
of the world.
Timeline for Human Origins
The Multiregional
Evolution Model
• Argues that some, or all, of the genetic variation
between the contemporary human populations is
attributable to genetic inheritance (i.e. gene flow) from
hominid species or sub-species of the genus Homo,
that were geographically dispersed throughout Asia,
Europe, and Australasia, prior to the evolution of
anatomical modern humans.
• Candidate populations suggested by multi-regionalists
as sources for such genetic variation include Asian H.
erectus and the Neandertals.
Recent African Origins or
“Eve” Model
Argues that all contemporary species of genus Homo
became extinct after the exodus of anatomically modern
humans out of Africa.
These extinct human ancestors were too genetically and
culturally different to interbreed with modern human or
were out-competed due to inferior technology.
Sorting The Evidence
Morphological Features (a mosaic of features could
indicate gene flow; stable differences would indicate no
gene flow)
Genetics (shared DNA and mtDNA could suggest gene
flow; DNA and mtDNA uniqueness would suggest no
gene flow)
Archaeology (shared cultural traits may indicate
interaction; distinct cultural traits would indicate little to
no cultural exchange)
The Herto Finds
Hominids found in Ethiopia and dated to 160,000
years ago.
The discoverers of these fossils called them Homo
sapiens idaltu (meaning “elder” in the local Afar
While conceding that these skulls are robust, they
believe that these skulls have conclusively proved
the recent African origins hypothesis, relegating
Neandertals to a side branch of human evolution.
A Mosaic of Anatomical Features
Some Neandertals have features associated with
modern humans – ex: a higher forehead, smaller
browridges, and chins.
The earliest anatomically modern human skulls
from Europe often exhibit features reminiscent of
Some typical Neandertal features such as the
occipital bun are found in diverse living
populations today such as Bushmen from
Southern Africa, Finns and Lapps from
Scandinavia, and Australian aborigines.
A Mosaic of Anatomical Features
A = a Neanderthal with human features
B = a robust Cro-Magnon
The Case of the Portuguese
Boy (c. 30,000 ya)
An apparent Neandertal boy with an incipient chin
or a very husky human boy?
The Case of the Portuguese Boy
(c. 30,000 ya)
An incipient chin
Mitochondrial DNA
The 16,569 bases in
mitochondrial DNA
(mtDNA) are organized
into circular chromosomes
present in large numbers
in every cell.
The human mtDNA
sequence has been
entirely sequenced with
functional genes
Mitochondrial DNA and the
African Eve Hypothesis
Analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of all living
humans can be traced back to a “mitochondrial
Eve” who lived in Africa some 200,000 years ago.
If this is the case, all other populations of archaic
H. sapiens, as well as non-African H. erectus,
would have to be ruled out of the ancestry of
modern humans.
Neandertal Mitochondrial DNA
The mtDNA of Neandertals differs substantially from
modern Europeans.
However, the average differences are not as great as
those seen among living subspecies of the single
species of chimpanzee.
Also, the differences between populations separated
in time by tens of thousands of years tell us nothing
about differences between populations
contemporaneous with each other.
Aurignacian Tradition
Tool making tradition in Europe and
western Asia at the beginning of the
Upper Paleolithic.
Mousterian and
Aurignacian Traditions
Between 30,000 and 36,500 years ago, Upper Paleolithic
industries developed from the Mousterian tradition of
European Neandertals. These new Neandertal industries
co-existed with the Aurignacian industry, usually
associated with anatomically modern humans.
What Was the Culture of Upper
Paleolithic Peoples Like?
Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic tool kits are known
for a preponderance of blade tools,
with flint flakes at least twice as long
as they are wide.
The earliest blade tools come from
sites in Africa.
Upper Paleolithic Tools
Pressure flaking was used to press off
small flakes as the final step in stone
tool making.
Burins were used to work bone, horn,
antler, and ivory into fishhooks,
harpoons, and eyed needles.
Blade Techniques
During the Upper
Paleolithic, a new technique
was used to manufacture
The stone is worked to
create a striking platform;
long almost parallel-sided
flakes then are struck
around the sides, providing
sharp-edged blades.
Pressure Flaking
Two methods used
for pressure flaking
in which a bone,
antler, or wooden
tool is used to
press rather than
strike off small
Techniques of the Upper
The Solutrean bifaces of Europe were made using the
pressure technique. Tools such as eyed needles and
harpoons began to be manufactured out of bone as well.
Spear Throwers
Spear-throwers (atlatls) allowed Upper Paleolithic people to
throw spears from a safe distance while maintaining accuracy.
Upper Paleolithic artists combined artistic expression with
function, ornamenting spear-throwers with animal figures.
Timeline of Upper
Paleolithic Cultural
Types of Upper Paleolithic
Carvings in tool handles
 Statues and figurines
 Cave paintings
 Bone flutes and whistles
Lascaux Cave
Lascaux Cave
These 17,000-year-old images, painted on
a wall in the multichambered Lascaux
Cave in the Dordogne region of southwest
France, were discovered in 1940 by 4
teenage boys.
In addition to the Ice Age animals depicted
here—horses, wild ox, rhino, and bison—
the chambers of Lascaux feature
renderings of other recognizable species.
Peche Merle Cave
Rock Art and Shamanism
There is a close connection between figurative
art and shamanism, and many scenes depict
visions seen in states of trance.
Distortions in the art, usually of human figures,
represent sensations felt in a state of trance,
whereas the geometric designs depict illusions
that originate in the central nervous system in
altered consciousness.
These entoptic phenomena are luminous
grids, dots, zigzags, and other designs that
seem to shimmer, pulsate, rotate, and expand.
Rock Art and Shamanism:
For Class Discussion
Examine this rock painting from Australia. Can you find any
examples of entoptic phenomena?
Venus Figurines
Made of stone, ivory, antler or
baked clay
Found from France to Siberia
Possibly used as fertility figures
CAUTION: interpretations of these
figurines often rely on
contemporary gender norms and
cultural standards
Venus Figurines: For Class
According to art historian LeRoy McDermott, the
distortions and exaggerations of the female form
visible in the Venus figurines are a result of the
perspective taken by female artists representing
their own bodies.
Personal Adornment
Pendants and beads for personal adornment became common
in the Upper Paleolithic. In Europe, most were made by CroMagnons, but some—like these shown here—were made by
Neandertals. The earliest undisputed items of personal
adornment are some 40,000-year-old beads from Africa made
from ostrich egg shell.
Upper Paleolithic Huts
Reconstruction of an Upper Paleolithic hut with walls of
interlocked mammoth mandibles.
The Spread of Upper
Paleolithic Peoples
By 60,000 years ago, people arrived in Australia and
New Guinea.
They crossed at least 90 kilometers of water that
separated Australia and New Guinea from the Asian
continent throughout Paleolithic times.
The greater Australian landmass including
Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania.
At times of maximum glaciation and low sea
levels, these areas were continuous.
The combined landmass of the
contemporary islands of Java, Sumatra,
Borneo, and Bali that was continuous with
mainland Southeast Asia at times of low sea
levels corresponding to maximum
Habitation of Australia and
New Guinea
This figure
represents the
coastlines of Sahul
and Sunda now and
in the past.
As sea levels rose
with melting glaciers,
sites of early human
habitation were
submerged under
The Spread of Upper
Paleolithic Peoples
Expanded into regions previously uninhabited by
their archaic forebears.
Colonization of Siberia began 42,000 y.a.
10,000 years later they reached the northeastern
part of that region.
Habitation of the Americas
Arctic conditions and glaciers in
northeastern Asia and
northwestern North America
provided opportunities and
challenges for ancient people
spreading to the Americas.
The Arctic conditions provided a
land bridge (Beringia) between
the continents, yet harsh
environmental conditions pose
considerable challenges to
Paleoindians, like their Upper
Paleolithic contemporaries in
Eurasia, were such accomplished
hunters that they, too, could kill
more animals than could possibly
be used at one time.
These bones are the remains of
some 200 bison that Paleoindian
hunters stampeded over a cliff
8,500 years ago.