Where did Modern Humans originate and how are they different from their archaic ancestors? Modern Humans or Homo sapien sapiens origination is a question of controversy and much debate within the scientific community. In this essay I will attempt to illustrate the most significant theories and supporting evidence as well as make inferences about how they differed physically, socially and culturally from their archaic ancestors. There are two main theories regarding the evolution of Modern Humans, the first is the Replacement Theory and the second is the Continuity Theory. The Replacement Theory infers that Modern Humans evolved in Africa from Archaic and Pre-Modern Homo sapiens, terms describing a diverse range of Humans which lived from before 150,000 years ago to possibly less than 10,000 years ago (McBean, 2002) and that this new species radiated into South East Asia and then out into the rest of the world via land bridges. The Continuity Hypothesis suggests that the evolution of Homo sapiens did not necessarily take place in Africa but in other areas of the world, evolving independently of each other. Up until the 1980s most of the information that we had on the origination of Modern Humans came from the fossil record.
In 1987 a Biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley named Allan Wilson concluded that Homo sapiens are an entirely new species that originated in Africa alone (the Eve hypothesis).
The Mitochondrial DNA mapping of Rebecca Cann in 147 humans also points towards greater diversity in the African group than any from Europe, Asia and New Guinea. Anthropologists remain divided over the theory. Some consider a migration of conquering humans from Africa to be at odds with the fossil record. (Wolpoff, Thorne and Lawn, 1991).
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Also on statistical grounds and because the data is still inadequate to reject the multi regional (Continuity) hypothesis completely (Fagan, 2004).
What we do know is that the oldest Modern Human fossil remains outside Africa (Anon, www.ecotao.com).
A 200,000-year-old Homo sapien skull was found in Dali, China. Another Modern Human fossil was found in Qafzeh, Middle East and is 100,000 years old. Whereas Homo sapien sapiens fossils that have been excavated at the Klasies River Mouth and Border Cave in South Africa date between 60,000 and 80,000 years old.
While it is not clear exactly where Modern Humans originated it is clear that if the Replacement Theory (out – of Africa) is correct Modern Humans evolved prior to 100,000 years ago and if the Continuity Theory (multi regional) is correct the biological diversity of contemporary humankind has very deep roots in prehistory (Fagan, 2004).
It is seemingly more so that Scientists are beginning to adopt an intermediate theory, which is a culmination of the two. For many years it was believed that Modern Humans evolved from the Neanderthal. This theory is now unpopular, as many people believe that the Neanderthals were a sub-species of Homo sapiens and not a direct ancestor. In the Near East Humans and Neanderthals overlapped by 30,000 years. It is interesting that Humans didnt really flourish until after the extinction of the Neanderthals 35,000 years ago.
It has been theorised that Modern Humans hunted the Neanderthal and thus could have contributed to their extinction. The evidence from fossils allows us to note new species through physical changes. A modern human has an increase in overall cranial capacity 1350 cc. We see less of a brow ridge, which is virtually non-existent in females but present in males; this does not however, usually form a bar. The overall structure of the human skull is finer and more refined. The huge protruding jawbone and forward slope of the face is reduced. Humans are less hairy then their archaic ancestors this could be because they made clothing to deal with the cold, which meant that they could migrate to colder climates and new continents as well as impose a certain status with items of clothing. The archaic ancestors of Modern Humans lacked one vital component of the modern mind: cognitive flexibility, the ability to bridge walls between their many intelligences (Fagan 2004).
... modern humans. This disagreement has especially focused on the place of Neanderthals (or Neanderthals), often classified as H. sapiens neanderthals, in the chain of human evolution. The Neanderthals ... theory, the origins of modern humans can be found in southern Africa or the Middle East. Evolving perhaps 90, 000 to 200, 000 years ...
As far as we are aware Modern Humans are the only species on the planet that has ever been able to format articulate speech. This is due to the larynx shifting into a lower position where making a wider range of different sounds is necessary for speech. With the arrival of Modern Humans we see a wider variety of technologies. Tools that were made of bone as well as improved stone tools. (Holdaway, Lecture 7).
Stone blades were shaped more regularly and it appears that bone tools were manufactured for hunting different species as well as being more specified for different situations and places. By 20,000 years ago it appears that bone spearheads were used.
They began hunting bigger and more dangerous animals like buffalo and pigs with the increase of these technologies. We see development of more intricate art on cave walls and also portable art like the Venus figurines for example, a symbol of fertility. We see more luxury items such as beads and seashells. Seashells are found miles inland, which indicates that bands of Humans were trading. In the central European plain flint had been transported 100-200 km (Holdaway, Lecture 7).
This is a significant find as trade signifies a degree of intelligence never paralleled by the Archaic Humans. For the first time we see multiple graves and more goods inside of the graves.
People were buried wearing clothing and beads and large slabs of rock had been placed over the burial site to prevent carnivores from getting at the human remains. In conclusion while we may never know exactly where Modern Humans originated we do know that cultural evolution made Homo sapiens a new force in the history of life, (Campbell, Reece and Mitchell, 1999).
We do not have to wait to adapt to our environment like our archaic ancestors, we simply manipulate it to suit our needs. Melissa Ousey References Anon, Internet, http://www.ecotao.com/holism/hu sap.htm#sapiens Campbell, Reece and Mitchell, (1999) Biology, Fifth Edition, Chapter 34. Fagan, Brian M., (2004) People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory, Part Two, Chapter Three. Holdaway, Simon, Lecture Seven.
Abstract Expressionism was an American post-war 2 art movement that developed mainly in New York. The most renowned artists were located in New York and though the movement was broad and the many works of art very different, certain characteristics are observable in the development of the movement. These similarities lie in the artists’ ideas and concerns that were generally related to the human ...
McBean, David, Internet, http://members.ozemail.co.au/~mhallet/Great%20Ape. htm Wolpoff, Thorne and Lawn, 1991, New Scientist, June 22, 1991, Page 37..