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Lobanja Homo Sapiensa

Lobanja Homo Sapiensa


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Grimaldi

Khoisan (Khoi + San) - Je ime za dve izvorni etnični skupini južne Afrike. Od začetka zgornjega paleolitika je na tem območju zasedla kultura lova in nabiranja, znana kot Sangoan. Današnji ljudje San in Khoi so podobni svojim starodavnim skeletnim ostankom in naj bi bili njihovi potomci. Ljudje Khoisan so bili prebivalci večine južne Afrike pred širitvijo Bantuja proti jugu in pozneje evropski kolonizaciji. Ljudje Khoi in San imajo skupne fizične in jezikovne značilnosti in zdi se jasno, da so se Khoi razvejali od Sanja, ko so sprejeli prakso gojenja goveda in koz iz sosednjih skupin govorcev Bantu.

Kulturno so razdeljeni na lovce nabiralce San (splošno znane kot Bušmeni) in pastoralne Khoi. V jeziku Khoisan se soglasniki izgovarjajo s klikajočim zvokom. To je spodbudilo njihove nizozemske vsiljivce, da so jih imenovali & ldquoHottentots & rdquo & ndash ponižujoča beseda, ki pomeni "quotstutterer" ali "quottammerer" v jeziku nizozemskih napadalcev, ki bi jih skupaj z britanskimi in nemškimi naseljenci sčasoma iztrebili z genocidi Herero in Namaqua.


Ena od velikih ironij človeške zgodovine je, da to pomeni drugič, da bodo ta ista ljudstva - Britanci, Nizozemci in Nemci - iztrebili Khoisane in zasegli njihova dežela. To je ponovitev tistega, kar se je zgodilo (okoli 500 pr. prebivalci Evrope in zasegli njihova ozemlja. Zdi se, da tistim v Afriki žal ni prišlo niti besede o tem, kaj bi belci verjetno počeli.

Khoisan: Najstarejša človeška skupina na svetu
Po mnenju Knight et al. (2003) Y-haplogrupa A, najbolj raznolika ali najstarejša divergentna haplogrupa Y, ki se prenaša izključno s patrilinearnim poreklom, je danes prisotna v različnih skupinah Khoisan s frekvencami 12-44%, ostale prisotne Y-haplogrupe pa so nastale v zadnjem času primesi moških rodov Bantu E3a (18-54%), v nekaterih skupinah pa so vidne sledi pigmej (B2b). Khoisan kaže tudi največjo genetsko raznolikost v matrilinealno preneseni mtDNA med vsemi človeškimi populacijami. Njihove prvotne haplogrupe mtDNA L1d in L1k sta tudi ena najstarejših ženskih linij, ki se razhajajo.

Khoisanova domišljija in umetnost
Pred približno 75.000 leti je v jami blizu obale južnega rta v Južni Afriki človek izvrtal drobne luknje v lupine polžev in jih nanizal kot kroglice za izdelavo najstarejšega znanega nakita. Lupine so označene s sledovi rdečega okerja, kar kaže, da so bile bodisi okrašene s pigmentom železovega oksida ali pa jih je nosil nekdo, ki je nosil primitivno ličilo s pigmentom železovega oksida. So prvi dokaz umetniške ustvarjalnosti in simbolike v sodobnem človeku. Ta umetniška ustvarjalnost v Khoisanu bi se nadaljevala in izboljšala.


Steatopygia samice
Steatopija To je genetska značilnost nekaterih samic Khoisana. Opazili so ga tudi med Pigmeji v Srednji Afriki in Andamanskimi Negritosi na Andamanskih otokih. Med Khoisanom velja za znak lepote: začne se v otroštvu in se v celoti razvije do prve nosečnosti. Čeprav si Khoisan privošči najbolj opazne primere svojega razvoja, v drugih delih Afrike to še zdaleč ni redko in se pojavlja celo pogosteje med moškimi basterji kot med ženskami Khoikhoi. Občudovanje Khoisanov nad samicami steatopigije bo skupaj z njegovimi velikimi umetniškimi sposobnostmi zagotovilo artefakte, ki so v veliko pomoč pri spremljanju njihovih selitev po Evropi in Aziji.

Selitev v Evropo
Nekje okoli 45.000 pr. Velike ledeniške plošče, ki so pokrivale večino Evrope, so se začele topiti in skupina ali skupine teh narodov Khoisana so hodili čez Gibraltarsko ožino in vstopili v Evropo. To je prvič v človeški zgodovini, da so sodobni ljudje prestopili v uradno zamrznjeno divjino Evrope. Ko je Grimaldi Man prišel v Evropo, je nadaljeval selitve in sčasoma naselil vso Evropo in severno Azijo. Zdi se, da je najbolj vzhodna meja njegovega območja naselje, znano kot Malta v sibirski Rusiji, severno od Mongolije.

Prosimo, upoštevajte: Eno izmed žalostnih in nesrečnih dejstev v življenju je, da mnogi antropologi, raziskovalci in akademiki še vedno nočejo priznati, da so bili Afričani prvi človeški kolonizatorji v Evropi. Da bi to dejstvo prikrili, raje uporabljajo izraze aurignacijanska in gravetska kultura, kar je v redu, še vedno pomeni grimaldi. Vendar pa je trenutna muha pripisovanja Grimaldijevih artefaktov humanoidnemu kromanjoncu na vse načine skrivnostna. Konec koncev, drugače misleč, Cro-Magnon, tako kot Grimaldi, je bil črni Afričan.

Eden prvih dokazov o tem zgodovinskem popotovanju Grimaldija so našli v kavernah Grimaldi (Baousse-Rousse), med Mentonejem in Ventimiglijo ter na italijanski strani mednarodne meje, te kaverne tvorijo eno najkompaktnejših skupin paleolitika kaverne po vsej Evropi. Če štejemo dva majhna zaklonišča, skupina vključuje devet postaj, najpomembnejše pa so Grotte des Enfants, La Barma Grande, Grotte du Cavillon in Grotte du Prince. Splošno pozornost je na to regijo pred mnogimi leti pritegnilo odkritje človeškega okostja dr. Paula Riviera v Grotte du Cavillon, tako imenovani homme de Menton, ki je zdaj v Prirodoslovnem muzeju v Parizu. Tu je Rivi & egravere leta 1872 dokazal prisotnost namernih pokopov in okrašenih oblačil.

Kasneje je bilo v La Barma Grande najdenih skupaj pet okostnjakov in dva otroka v Grotte des Enfants, od koder tudi to ime. Zanimanje za arheologijo in lastništvo ene od kavern (Grotte du Prince) je monaškega princa, princa Alberta I Grimaldija (1848-1922), pripeljalo do sistematičnega raziskovanja kavern: tako so fosili postali znani kot & quot; Grimaldi & quot; njegova čast. Fosilne ostanke teh starih Afričanov so našli tudi v Franciji, Švici, Srednji Evropi, Bolgariji, Rusiji in na Daljnem vzhodu kot v Sibiriji. Afriško koisansko naravo fosilov so prvič dokumentirali Boule, Marcellin & amp Vallois v svoji knjigi & quot; Fosilni moški & quot; The Dryden Press (1957).

Eno najbolj vznemirljivih najdb Grimaldija 19. stoletja je naredil španski plemič: s. Don Marcelino de Sautoula na svojem posestvu na severni obali Španije. Amaterski prazgodovinar je delno izkopal jamo na hribu, imenovanem Altamira. Našel je jelene, konje, bizonove kosti, ostrige, številne pripomočke in kostno orodje, značilno za magdalensko kulturo. Ko je raziskal globlje v jamo, je naletel na kosti jamskega medveda in obsežen pepel. Na enem od svojih izkopavanj je s seboj v jamo odpeljal svojo 12-letno hčerko Marijo. Medtem ko je sedel in kopal v vlažni temi pod lučjo luči, je dekle nenadoma zavpil: & quotPapa, oče.

Mira. Toros pintados " Luč luči jim je dala tridimenzionalno obliko, saj je umetnik z veliko spretnostjo v svojo umetnost vključil naravne štrline stropa. Sautuola je bil globoko ganjen, ko sta s hčerko raziskovala streho jame in zagledala čudovite polikromirane živali, izvedene v tridimenzionalni spretnosti, ki jih je naslikal umetnik, ki je živali poznal, preden so izumrle iz Španije v daljni preteklosti.

Okostja Grimaldija, prikazana v Mus & eacutee d'Anthropologie v Monaku


Lobanja Homo Sapiensa - zgodovina

Homo sapiens sapiens: uporabnik simbola

Na podlagi trenutnih dokazov se zdi, da je naša vrsta nastala v Afriki nekaj časa po 200.000 letih. Po širjenju po tej celini se je nova vrsta razširila iz Afrike. Morda sta obstajali dve ločeni »sevanji«, prva, nekaj časa pred 100.000 leti, je sledila vzhodni obali Afrike in južnem koncu Arabskega polotoka ter od tam v južno Azijo, jugovzhodno Azijo in Indonezijo ter se končala v Avstralija. Homo sapiens so bili najdeni v Avstraliji, stari 40.000 ali celo 50.000 let. Zdi se, da je poznejše sevanje sledilo poti navzven skozi Sinajski polotok na Bližnji vzhod in nato v Azijo in Evropo. V Evropi so bili pred 40.000 do 35.000 leti. Ameriko so kolonizirali Homo sapiens nekaj časa pred 20.000 leti.

Velikost lobanje, orodja in značilnosti

130.000 let stara rekonstruirana lobanja, prikazana spodaj levo, predstavlja enega najzgodnejših znanih primerov sodobnega človeka, Homo sapiens sapiens. Ugotovljeno je bilo pri Omo v Vzhodni Afriki, da sta velikost in oblika lobanje popolnoma sodobni. Ob lobanji je prikazanih nekaj značilnih orodij Homo sapiens, vse iz vzhodne ali južne Afrike: bola za metanje drobne divjadi, orodja za kosmiče in dolgo rezilo za kosmiče ter jedro, iz katerega so bila udarjena takšna rezila.


Nad središčem je lobanja & quotCro-Magnon človek& quot iz Les Eysie v Franciji, starih približno 28.000 let. Posebnosti naše vrste so vidne v lobanji na skrajni desni, ki je tudi primer kromanjonskega človeka, v nasprotju s tipično neandertalsko lobanjo na njeni levi strani. The H. sapiens sapiens lobanja je manjša in bolj kompaktna, obraz pa veliko manj podolgovat kot pri neandertalcu, sodobna človeška lobanja ima višje čelo, manj izrazite obrvi in ​​manjše zobe. Sodobni ljudje so običajno precej manj robustni po telesni obliki in okostju kot neandertalci.

Sodobne človeške samice so v povprečju le nekoliko manjše od samcev, vendar se spolni dimorfizem pojavlja na številne subtilne načine.

Dokazi o lovski kulturi


Rekonstrukcije teh umetnikov prikazujejo grobo lovsko življenje Evropejcev naše vrste v ledeni dobi [pogosto imenovanih Cro-Magnon po zgodnjem odkritju v Franciji]. Ti zgodnji Evropejci so se lahko prilagodili hudim razmeram ledene dobe in se z največjimi mesojedci kosali za najmočnejše plenilske živali Evrazije. S pomočjo svojih naprednih kulturnih in tehnoloških virov so se lahko prilagodili težkim razmeram. Lovci, ki živijo v bližini ledu, so, kot so prikazani zgoraj desno, sledili obsežnim lovcem na črede severnih in severnih jelenov v Srednji in Vzhodni Evropi, ki so nevarno živeli pri lovu na Mamuta.

Homo sapiens spletna mesta predstavljajo ogromne dokaze o razširjenosti kulturnih praks. Več grobov iz srednje Evrope na desni strani je starih 26.000 let. Posameznik v središču pokopa je imel skoliozo hrbtenice, asimetrično lobanjo in nerazvito desno nogo. Moški na levi strani ima v bok zabit kol, večji samec na skrajni desni pa z licem navzdol. Moške lobanje so krasili krogi arktičnih lisic in volčjih zob ter pasovi slonovine.

Slika na skrajni desni rekonstruira pokop lovca na mamute, ki so ga našli v Predmostih v srednji Evropi. Po grobu se razprši rdeča oker, ki bo pokrita z mamutovo lopatico in kljovami.

Najzgodnejši artefakti iz Homo sapiens se ne razlikujejo od neandertalskih (musterijskih) orodij. Kmalu zatem pa se razvijejo v veliko bolj izpopolnjene oblike od vseh, ki so bile pred njimi, in odslej komplet orodij kaže težnjo, da se sčasoma precej hitro spreminjajo. Zgoraj si je umetnik zamislil, kako so se te vse bolj zapletene kulturne informacije prenašale na naslednje generacije: lovci pripravljajo kamnito orodje, kot gleda mlad fant, in pridobivajo tehnologijo svojih ljudi.

Kostne igle na desni so dokaz prišitih oblačil. Natančno izrezljane koščene palice (levo in na sredini), ki jih najdemo po vsej Evropi, so nekoliko skrivnostne, katerih funkcija ni jasna. Ti čudni kulturni predmeti so ponavadi izdelani iz jelenovega roga in dovršeno okrašeni. Morda so bili znaki poveljevanja, kot topuz ali častnikova palica - od tod tudi ime.

Skrajno desno ogrlica vsebuje kremplje in zobe jamskega medveda ter zobe leva. Človeška bitja so verjetno edinstvena v svojem odzivu na plenilce - živali, ki jih ujamejo: ljudje aktivno iščejo in napadajo strašne plenilce in si skušajo čarobno prilastiti svoje moči tako, da zaužijejo njihovo meso ali se okrasijo s simboli svoje moči.

V Evropi je bilo najdenih na desetine jamskih najdišč z izjemnimi slikami in drugimi umetniškimi deli iz obdobja močnega mraza, pred 25.000-14.000 leti. Slike v Lascauxu so stotine metrov pod zemljo in oddaljene od bivalnih prostorov jamskega kompleksa. Domneva se, da je takšna jamarska umetnost imela versko ali kultno funkcijo. V tej rekonstrukciji uporabe Lascauxa, najbolj znane od teh "prazgodovinskih katedral", je umetnik upodobil iniciacijo mladih moških iz plemena. Lik, obrnjen proti gledalcu, je domnevno šaman. Uporaba ali uporaba in pomen slik ter razlogi za njihovo postavitev pod zemljo v takšne jame so seveda hipotetični.

Distribucija in oblikovanje jamarske umetnosti

Porazdelitev mest jamskih slik v zahodni Evropi dokazuje, da so jame in jamarsko umetnost zgodnji ljudje uporabljali za različne obredne in družbene namene na širokem območju Evrope pred 25.000 do 14.000 leti, na vrhuncu zadnje ledeniški napredek. V Evropi se jamska območja še odkrivajo. Jamarska umetnost je običajno globoko pod zemljo, daleč stran od bivalnih prostorov jam, kar prispeva k njihovemu ohranjanju. Nekaj ​​izklesanih kamnitih reliefov je bilo najdenih zunaj jam. Medtem ko se nam pomen - ali pomeni - jamskih podob izmika, njihova oddaljenost in nedostopnost implicirata njune resne in verjetno svete funkcije. Slika zgoraj desno prikazuje glavno galerijo jame v Lascauxu v Franciji, morda najbolj znano od teh mest. Slika na desni prikazuje nekatere podrobnosti upodobitve bika vrste divjega goveda (aurochs), ki ga pogosto lovijo Evropejci v ledeni dobi. Upoštevajte, da so bile nekatere slike prebarvane, kar kaže na zaporedno uporabo zidov jame v določenem časovnem obdobju.


Te podobe (Przewalskega) konja, divjih aurohov in kozorogov iz Lascauxa, odkritih leta 1940, so podane s tako usposobljenostjo in pridihom, da je bila njihova pristnost - in njihova osupljiva starost 15.000 do 17.000 let - najprej vprašljiva. Upoštevajte oznake projektila ali poševnice v bližini konja in sulico ali puščico v bližini kravjih prsi. Takšne značilnosti kažejo, da so bile te podobe uporabljene pri ritualnem ali magičnem uprizoritvi lova. Upoštevajte pravokotno sliko v bližini kozoroga, ki so jo nekateri razlagali kot past, drugi pa abstraktno sliko (simbol).


Evropski bizon ali modrica je ena najpogosteje upodobljenih živali v paleolitski umetnosti. Te obdelave v več medijih v peščenjaku, jelenovem rogu, glini in apnencu (od zgoraj, desno desno) ponazarjajo prefinjenost paleolitske umetnosti. Upoštevajte podobno slogovno obravnavo bika in grive na desni in zgornji sredini, ki kaže, da so se posebne umetniške konvencije prenašale iz roda v rod. Na tleh jame, blizu fino izklesanih glinenih podob zgoraj desno, so še vedno ohranjeni umetnikovi odtisi.



Te upodobitve (zgoraj desno) divjih ovac, konjev in jelenov so veliko bolj stilizirane, kar kaže na pojav regionalne umetniške tradicije v širših konvencijah paleolitske umetnosti. Zdravljenje je kljub temu zelo naravoslovno in ostaja blizu dejanskemu videzu živali. Običajno je enostavno prepoznati, kaj je upodobljeno v tej umetniški tradiciji, vendar je zelo težko povedati, kaj podoba pomeni ali kakšna bi bila njena funkcija. Na primer, reliefni izrez dveh mamutov, obrnjenih drug proti drugemu (zgoraj), najdenega v Lougerie Haute v Franciji, krasi prebodeno palico ali palico. Takšne artefakte najdemo po vsej zahodni Evropi, njihova funkcija pa ostaja skrivnostna. Nekateri jih vidijo kot značke ali simbole oblasti - kot & quotbaton ukaza & quot

Interpretacijski izziv simboličnih artefaktov

Ta štafeta ali osebje, najdena v francoskem mestu Mas-d'Azil, je še posebej zanimiva in skoraj zahteva interpretacijo. Ta "quotbaton" je iz jelenjadjevega roga, izrezljanega v obliki treh konjskih glav - dveh živih konjev, bodisi kobile in žrebca bodisi žrebca in odraslega konja - in raztrgane lobanje mrtvega konja. Je to prikaz zelo abstraktne ideje o življenjskem ciklu od mladoletne faze do smrti? Rezbarjenje zahteva, da se & quotread & quot in interpretira.

Podobe, kot je ta, nas silijo, da razmislimo o vlogi simbolov in oblikovanju simbolov v življenju Homo sapiens sapiens. Na tej točki človekovega razvoja si človeka ni mogoče predstavljati razen značilne in trajnostne kulture - iz skupne tehnologije in skupnega nabora običajev in prepričanj. Ti običaji in prepričanja zelo verjetno vključujejo visoko razvite abstraktne ideje in spoznanja, kot so na primer utelešeni na desni. Homo sapiens sapiens je do takrat očitno postal učinkovit izdelovalec orodja, morda pa še pomembneje, ustvarjalec simbolov in uporabnik simbolov.

Iz človeških ostankov ne moremo razbrati, kdaj se je pojavil ravno govor/jezik, vendar si brez tega težko predstavljamo tovrstne artefakte.

Odkrivanje lastne podobe


Podoba človeške roke na desni, ustvarjena s pihanjem barve iz ust ali votle cevi na steno jame v Pech-Merleju v Franciji, je kot podpis star skoraj 20.000 let. 8 cm visok izrez človeškega obraza na slonu slonovine (prikazan zgoraj z različnih vidikov) je star 26.000 let. Številne človeške podobnosti, kot je ta, izklesane na slonu slonovine mamuta, so našli v srednji Evropi, v nekdanji Češkoslovaški. Predmet, prikazan tukaj, je najstarejši portret človeka, ki je bil še odkrit. Rezbar tega portreta, ki prikazuje izvrstne podrobnosti o temi, vključno z očmi, lasmi, usti in izrazom, je bil mojster svoje obrti. Zdi se, da je glava pritrjena na palico ali palico. Pomen takšnih rezbarij ni znan.

Dokazi o obredni praksi


Zgoraj levo je prikradena figura, pol človek, pol žival, iz jame Les Trois Freres v Franciji, ki jo je leta 1902 narisal opatija Brueuil. Pogosto se razlaga kot šaman, morda v dejanju preoblikovanja v totemičnega živalskega duha njegovega plemena.

Desno desno je majhen izrez moškega z levjo glavo, ki so ga našli v bližini Hohlensteina v Nemčiji in je ocenjen na 32.000 let. Rezbarija prikazuje brazgotine ali okraske na nadlakti figure.

Zgoraj na desni je prikazana polovica človeka, polmedveda, ki je izrezana v obrisih. Še enkrat, najbolj očitna razlaga takšne figure je šaman, ki se ukvarja s svetim obredom - ali morda totemična figura iz legende ali mita. Brez pisnih poročil o njihovem pomenu lahko le ugibamo.


Na številnih evropskih mestih so našli ženske kipce, včasih imenovane figurice "Venus". Ženska glava zgoraj levo je upodobljena v zelo abstraktnem slogu v primerjavi z živalmi ob njej, enako velja za ženske figure v sredini in zgoraj desno. Številka 18 & quot; Venera & quot (Francija, pred 22.000 do 30.000 leti) v zgornjem središču drži nekaj, kar je lahko zarezan bizonov rog, morda simbolično podoben rogu izobilja, "četrti obilja" in kasnejšim evropskim kulturam. Debelina in pretirane spolne značilnosti mnogih od teh oseb, skupaj z njihovo brezlično anonimnostjo, nakazujejo, da simbolizirajo plodnost. Primeri teh skulptur prikazujejo več stopenj ženskosti, od pred puberteto in nosečnostjo do starejše starosti.

Zanimivo je ugibati, ali so moški ali ženske izrezljali te kipe in kaj so pomenili ljudem, ki so jih izdelali.

Zgodbe starodavnega ljudstva

Noben primer zgodnje človeške umetnosti ni bolj zanimiv od tega primera iz najglobljih kotičkov Lascauxa. Ranjeni bizon z izlitjem drobovja spusti glavo, da bi požrl moškega lovca, upodobljenega kot surova palica. Na dnu se pojavita zlomljena sulica in palica (ali metalec kopja?) Na vrhu ptice. Zdi se, da ima moški ptičjo masko ali kljun. Je ptica na palici simbol, zgodnji piktogram, ki predstavlja ime?

Za razliko od mnogih slik v glavni galeriji v Lascauxu in drugod, ki se zdi, da prikazujejo & quotIbex & quot; & & quotorse & quot; ali & quotbison & quot; Je tako konkreten in specifičen kot točka v večernih novicah. Po drugi strani pa se slika, podobna tej, pojavi v več kot sto milj oddaljeni jami. Je to torej prikaz dejanskega dogodka ali nekoč dobro znane epizode iz legende ali mita?

Spet imamo primer človeškega kulturnega artefakta, ki zahteva, da je & quotread & quot; proti sistemu simbolov, ki ga uporablja človeška skupnost, ki je naredila predmet (in je žal izgubljen). Pri ogledu takšnega predmeta se počutimo na znanih tleh, v prisotnosti ljudi, podobnih sebi - in v stiku z eno najbolj značilnih oblik človeškega vedenja - uporabo simbolov.


Anatomija homo sapiensa

Zaradi razlike v sodobni anatomiji in vedenju ni čisto anatomske definicije H. sapiens. Linnaeus je razlikoval med H. diurnus, ki ustreza ljudem, in H. nocturnus, ki se nanaša na orangutana. Je edina vrsta Linnea brez holotipa Linnaeusa samega.

Diagnostične (ne nujno avtapomorfne) lobanjske značilnosti (ali še bolje, trendi) H. sapiens so naslednje:

  • Videz manj trden kot pri drugih predstavnikih rodu Homo
  • Zmanjšanje površine zoba
  • Zobna arkada s parabolično obliko
  • Zaobljena okcipitalna regija
  • Ravno čelo, zato manj izraziti supraorbitalni grebeni (vendar še vedno prisotni pri prvih članih)
  • Obraz ortognat
  • Orbitae bolj pravokotne kot zaobljene
  • Globoka zigomatična jama
  • Izrazita brada je verjetno posledica premika zob v zadnjem delu, ki ga označuje For. mentale pod P2 namesto Mj

Če povzamemo lobanjske in zobne značilnosti, postane očitno, da spremembe v žvečenju vplivajo na večino zgoraj omenjenih znakov. To je privedlo do zmanjšanja zobnih površin, sile ugriza (s tem nadorbitalnih grebenov) in preoblikovanja brade. Šele po zmanjšanju teh dominantnih omejitev v obliki lobanje je bila možna napihnjenost časovnega in sprednjega dela možganov, ki je vodila do ravnega čela in ortognatnega obraza. Sledijo diagnostični postkranialni liki.

Oblika telesa

V času svojega razvoja so se ljudje povečali za približno 150% in podvojili svojo telesno težo. Najverjetneje že pri prvih pripadnikih rodu Homo (če že ne prej) se razvije nov mehanizem dvonožnega gibanja, ki pri hoji uporablja torzijski mehanizem trupa in hrbtenice. Amplitude teh torzij so odvisne od hitrosti hoje in kažejo uporabo resonančnih mehanizmov (varčevanje z energijo), ki pri večjih hitrostih kažejo pomembne razlike med spoloma. Torzijo poganjajo in uravnavajo poševne trebušne mišice. Človeško telo tvori hiperboloid, "pas".

Po zamisli Weberja in Weberja, noge in roke med hojo delujejo kot fizična nihala. Njihova resonanca se pojavi pri energetsko optimalni hitrosti približno 1,1 m/s - samo s hitrostjo, pri kateri torzija trupa kaže relativni minimum, kar kaže na prilagojeno mehansko interakcijo med okončinami in trupom. Da bi povečali energetsko optimalno hitrost, so mišice nog koncentrirane v bližini trupa. Zaporedna stožčasta oblika nog omogoča veliko dolžino koraka s kratkimi nihali in s tem kratke čase zamaha, kar vodi do največje hitrosti. Koncept smo povzeli pod izrazom obrnjeno nihalo. Človeške roke so krajše od nog, z bolj valjasto obliko in večjo maso distalno, s čimer so primerljive dolžine nihala in s tem dinamične lastnosti kot noge.

Pri hoji kolčni sklepi ustvarjajo približno dvakrat večjo silo kot ramenski sklepi, mehansko pomembna širina ramen (biglenoidna širina) pa je dvakrat večja od širine medenice (biacetabularna širina). V medeničnem segmentu je koncentrirano več mase kot v prsnem segmentu (napolnjenem z zrakom: pljuča). Tako je središče mase v medenici. Na sprednjem in bočnem pogledu je dolg prtljažnik (v primerjavi z našimi najbližjimi sorodniki primatov razširjen) z masnimi koncentracijami na koncu asimetrične neme oblike zvona. Če gledamo z vrha, se prečni prerez debla razteza v elipso namesto bolj zaobljene oblike, na primer šimpanzov. Spremembe oblike telesa so nujen predpogoj za pomembno dejanje hominidov pri metu.

Roke

Primerjava sodobnih človeških rok z rokami nečloveških primatov razkriva lastnosti, ki so edinstvene za ljudi in so povezane z dvema glavnima funkcijama: od močnega oprijema do natančnega oprijema in pomena kretenj. Toda osnovo manipulativnih sposobnosti, ki vključujejo strukturne spremembe in zahteve po visoki hitrosti pri izvajanju gibov, je treba videti bolj v razvoju možganov kot v anatomskih

spremembe same roke. Edinstveni gibi človeške roke so najprej ulnarna opozicija (premikanje ulnarne strani proti palcu), ki tvori "Diogenovo skodelico". Drugič, omogočen je natančen in stisnjen oprijem (in še veliko več prijemov) med palcem ter četrtim in petim prstom ("oprijem košare"). (Lucy je že imela oprijem med palcem ter drugim in tretjim prstom, pravi M. Marzke.) Slednje vključuje reorganizacijo mišic palca, zlasti dolge upogibne mišice.

Golota

Golota ljudi je posledica miniaturizacije telesnih dlak (ne izgube) do največ 1-2 mm. Poleg tega so dlake na telesu izgubile pigmentacijo. V povezavi s tem znojne žleze, ki so bile pri primatih prej omejene na dlani in podplate, zdaj pokrivajo celo telo in s transpiracijo zagotavljajo največjo površino hlajenja. Človeška sposobnost potenja je edinstvena pri sesalcih. Toda golote ni mogoče videti le v kontekstu termoregulacije, ampak tudi spolnosti in postnatalnega razvoja (glej spodaj). Gola koža in dotik igrajo izjemno vlogo pri razvoju čustev. Tabu stika s kožo v številnih različnih nedavnih kulturah kaže na velik pomen takšnih stikov s kožo za stabilizacijo skupinske pripadnosti, pa tudi za razvoj samozavesti.

Tretjič, golota skupaj z ogromnim razvojem dlak na glavi in ​​podkožne telesne maščobe je preoblikovala zunanji videz ljudi. Medtem ko podkožna telesna maščoba predstavlja le 3% telesne mase pri primatih, je pri moških 16%, pri ženskah pa do 25%. Njegova funkcija je povezana z napihovanjem možganov. Običajno možgani porabijo samo glukozo, v stanju lakote pa lahko prekrijejo do 85% ketonov, ki se sproščajo iz maščobnega tkiva.

Melanociti (celice, ki proizvajajo pigmente) že na goli koži šimpanzov proizvajajo melanin pod UV sevanjem. Molekule melanina vežejo proste radikale. Vsaka barva pri ljudeh je posledica le količine melanina v koži, ki ga sam nadzoruje le nekaj genov. Uravnavajo aktivnost encima (tirozinaze), ki katalizira prvi korak v biosintezi melanina in nadzorujejo paket in velikost melanosomov, kar na koncu povzroči razliko med posamezno pigmentacijo.

Človeške barve so subtilno ravnovesje med dvema vitaminoma. Prvi vitamin je folat (folna kislina), vitamin B, ki je zelo občutljiv na sončno svetlobo. Zlasti med nosečnostjo lahko pomanjkanje folata povzroči več malformacij. Nepogrešljiv je tudi pri hitri mitozi takšne proizvodnje sperme.

Nasprotno pa biosinteza vitamina D potrebuje UV -sevanje. Vitamin D je potreben za presnovo kalcija in fosfatov, za vnos kalcija iz črevesja in zato za osteogenezo. V povrhnjici se holesterin pretvori v provitamin D, ki se v ledvicah sintetizira v vitamin D. Da bi zagotovili to biosintezo, koža postane svetlejša, ko živijo severnejši posamezniki, in celo teoretično za to biosintezo ni dovolj sončne svetlobe nad 50 ° zemljepisne širine. V slednjem primeru ga je treba nadomestiti s hrano.

Spolnost

Spolnost H. sapiens se močno razlikuje od njihovih najbližjih sorodnikov, šimpanzov. Podkožno maščobno tkivo se je povečalo na kar 16% -25% celotne telesne mase. Zdaj oblikuje človeško telo pri obeh spolih. Prsi odraslih žensk so trajno razvite neodvisno od njihove funkcije za dojenje. V obdobjih laktacije dojke tvorijo maščobno tkivo in služijo le kot signal za spol. Zunanji ženski spolni organi so popolnoma skriti z velikimi krili vulve in sramnimi dlakami. Ti lasje so tako drugačni od cefaličnih, da so tudi uši, ki živijo v zadevnih regijah, drugačne vrste. V nasprotju s samicami šimpanzov in bonobo ženske nikakor ne signalizirajo svojega estrusa niti z otečeno anogenitalno kožo niti s kakšno posebno izločanjem. Estrus žensk je skrivnosten, njihova spolna aktivnost pa neodvisna od tega. Skupaj z edinstveno občutljivostjo golega telesa in specifičnih erogenih con so ljudje obeh spolov verjetno edini sesalci, ki lahko dosežejo orgazem, vrsta kratke nezavesti ("majhna smrt" v vzhodnoazijski literaturi). Spolnost igra ključno vlogo v partnerskih odnosih tudi po obdobju reproduktivne dobe žensk. Mejnik v evoluciji človeka je ločitev spolnosti od reprodukcije. Homoseksualnost kot sestavni del vseh človeških kultur lahko štejemo tudi za učinek te jasne razlike.

Ena od možnih evolucijskih posledic nove spolnosti ljudi je »osvoboditev« samcev od njihove vloge, v kateri prevladuje spol, pri doseganju dostopa do samic ali zaščiti pri haremsko organiziranih vrstah (na primer gorila, šimpanz in manjše stopnje bonobo). Moški so edini primati, ki v veliki meri sodelujejo z nepovezanimi posamezniki. Ta moška kooperativnost je skupaj s plesiomorfnim sodelovanjem med samicami primatov ena ključnih struktur družbene organizacije, ki je bila pred kulturno evolucijo. Prav tako prvič v evoluciji primatov omogoča velikost skupine, ki je precej nad biološko omejeno velikostjo.

Rojstvo

Ljudje imajo glede na svojo telesno težo nenavadno dolgo obdobje brejosti. Especially in the last 6-8 weeks, when fetal body growth ceases, the brain and subcutaneous body fat develops, of which the latter can be seen as a supply for the former in case of postnatal starvation. Human birth is unique in that the head is rotated 90° within the birth channel and the newborn is facing dorsally. The complexity of birth and the enormous risk for the mother—also unique within mammals—and for the newborn has led to the idea that assistance during birth by other women is a key factor in human evolution.

Postnatal Development and Social Behavior

Human social behavior develops from an already extremely advanced behavior of their ape sister-groups. In particular, two innate abilities are highly evolved within these groups. Apes can detect the social and emotional status of their counterpart from very small, almost nonvisible signals such as changes in body posture, and they can anticipate its implication. They can recognize other individuals as intentional agents whose attention can be shared and even manipulated. Together with a high degree of vocalization, apes have herewith evolved the highest emotional intelligence among all existing mammals.

By building upon these abilities, human evolution is characterized by a unique “sociability,” an extreme behavior directed toward immediate relatives but also psychological parents (“primary intersubjectivity”). Newborn primates have the well-known reflex of grasping at their mother, but they start very early to move on their own, and within only a few weeks or, rarely, months they are independent from their mother in regard to their locomotion and mobility. In contrast, human babies—although their gestation lasts 6-8 weeks longer than in chimpanzees—are highly retarded in their locomotory abilities. The neocortex and motor tracts descending from the cortex to the spinal cord are extremely immature at birth, for example, axon diameter of the corticospinal tract is 10 times smaller than in adults. Descending brain control does not develop before the end of the 1st year of age. Simple spinal central pattern generators cause the action of stepping.

Babies are carried for at least the first half year and often much longer. In contrast, this extraordinary retardation in the first postnatal year allows the baby to fully concentrate on his or her mother’s actions. While being carried or lying, the child’s brain is highly active in following verbal and nonverbal indications, and long before babies can speak by themselves, they have learned to discriminate their mother’s language from other sounds. Language establishes in mother-child dyads with the communication of simple needs and desires by one- to two-word utterances. Typically, not only in humans, the way of investigating the surface and 3-D haptic properties of an object is with the lips and tongue. From haptic to optic inventory, the baby’s world changes from being purely sensomotoric to an increasingly abstract comprehension. Together with the gradual understanding of words and their meaning, abstract thinking capability is gained. It is worth mentioning that the individual constituents of humans acquired within the first 4 years cannot be remembered.

Only in its second year does the child start to develop motor abilities, including ultimately bipedal locomotion and speech by again imitating the surroundings. Note that the adult appearance of myelin is not attained up until 2 years of age. And it is only at the age of 4 that children recognize their surrounding persons as acting, thinking, and feeling in the same way as themselves, and that they develop self-consciousness (theory of mind). As a consequence, children are able to act responsibly and develop a feeling of guilt. A unique feature of humans is the extraordinarily long period of adolescence, which might even last beyond puberty. It will always remain a matter of debate whether cosmological-religious thinking was a constitutive feature of becoming human. The remains of doubtless buried people 100,000 years ago are a strong argument of the very early occurrence of such a belief in the other world. A second strong argument is the ubiquity of such a belief in human cultures. The human brain mass has increased by 3.5-fold as compared to the chimpanzee. Whereas the cerebrum increases fourfold, the brain stem remained almost unchanged. But only a closer look reveals the real changes. Some regions, for example, the optic and acoustic area of the cortex as well as the primary motor area, are almost not enlarged. The secondary areas of association are doubled in terms of their extent, but the tertiary area of association is formed almost de novo, occupying about half of the cortex surface. Especially the frontal and frontobasal cortex show the major increase with respect to the temporal, parietal, and occipital regions. Accordingly, the appropriate parts of the basal ganglia are enlarged, such as the nucleus caudatus and putamen.

The inflation of the human brain is accompanied by an extremely long development of the intracortical connections, even beyond puberty. While all neurons and interneurons are present at birth, cytologically differentiated and in their proper place, they show a continuous growth until late adolescence. During postnatal growth, the thickness of the cortex doubles too among others due to the enormous growth of pyramide cells and their basal dendrites. Primary and secondary areas highly depend on multiple inputs in their postnatal development, for example, the differentiation of the visual cortex lasts at least 3 months before a baby can recognize persons clearly. It is probably the unique development of the tertiary areas that makes us humans, because their differentiation is only controlled and supported by imitation, socialization, and the deliberate, long-term learning within an intact social group. Increasing neurobiological insights have led to a profound understanding of the developmental processes in ontogenesis as well as right- and left-side hemisphere differentiation. Left-right cerebral hemispheric asymmetries exist in extant pongids and also the australopithecines, but neither the pattern nor direction is as strongly developed as the genus Homo.

The Evolution of Speech and Language

Vocalization is known in many different animals and mammals. In chimpanzees, more than 35 different sounds are used but in a strongly defined context. All such vocalizations are controlled by the mid-region of the brainstem. In humans, the baby’s vocalizations and all sorts of sounds during fights or sex in adults are of such a type. Unique vocalizations of H. sapiens are crying and laughing, which are also controlled by the brainstem but initiated cortically. Vocalization should not be confused with language.

The informational content of language is exponentially higher than in vocalization. In a second, four to six syllables, each consisting of up to six consonants or vowels, can be communicated. Production and reception of language is situated exclusively in the newly evolved associative tertiary areas of the cortex. In particular, the left hemisphere is specialized to conduct complex arbitrary actions in gesture and the vocal domain. This may have created a left hemispheric bias not only in gestural communication but also in the execution of all technical ideas.

The development of the Broca’s area (the “motor speech” area) in the gyrus frontalis is intimately correlated with the evolution of language. It is unilateral in the left hemisphere. Note that a well-developed Broca’s area is present in early members of Homo more than 1.6 million years ago, for example, KMN-ER 1470. The Wernicke’s area, which is involved in the interpretation of spoken language, is not a speech center but the secondary auditory cortex and is always bilateral. The Wernicke’s area of the dominant hemisphere (mostly the left side) integrates sounds more rationally, whereas that of the nondominant hemisphere “understands” the melody, which is of the highest importance in early postnatal development.

For a long time, any definition of language, as the basis of speech, has been restricted to audible sounds produced by the action of the vocal, laryngeal organs. Consequently, speech was restricted to human communication through spoken language. Only recently the possible gestural origin of language has been seriously debated. Seen in this light, for most of our evolution language would have been gestural, although more and more punctuated by (vocalizations) the production of speech phonemes. The discovery of a mirror system in primates by Rizzolatti and Arbib and its probable homology with the Broca’s area in the human brain, together with the unique human ability for imitation, has strongly supported the idea that language originated in a complex system of gestures and phonemes. Articulate speech would have been completed relatively late in the evolution of Homo. If we accept that the Neandertals are fully capable of language, this would have occurred before both species split. It remains unclear whether humans are the only ones who used speech alone for vocalization of language and to communicate ideas and feelings. Some scientists suggest that syntax emerged only very late as a result of cultural evolution, whereas other scientists argue that language evolved exclusively in the vocal domain.

Gestural and vocal communication implies anatomical changes in the hand (see above) and vocal system, which can be followed in ontogeny. Set free from thermoregulation due to the extension of sweat glands over the body, the upper respiratory tract changed dramatically. Motor activity in ordinary language comprises the activation of laryngeal muscles, including vocal cords, throat muscles, soft palate, tongue, jaw, and facial muscles in a highly ordered but fast sequence.

Evolution of Culture

By defining culture as the difference between learned and vested behavior of different populations, one of the keys of human evolution becomes obvious: risks are minimized and advantages are maximized by imitating successful behavior. Cultural history began when the survival of the fittest took in tow the imitation of the fittest (Eckhard Voland). This process inevitably leads to cultures and not culture—and to competition of cultures as a driving force of evolution.


Oldest Fossils of Homo Sapiens Found in Morocco, Altering History of Our Species

Fossils discovered in Morocco are the oldest known remains of Homo sapiens, scientists reported on Wednesday, a finding that rewrites the story of mankind’s origins and suggests that our species evolved in multiple locations across the African continent.

“We did not evolve from a single ‘cradle of mankind’ somewhere in East Africa,” said Philipp Gunz, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a co-author of two new studies on the fossils, published in the journal Nature. “We evolved on the African continent.”

Until now, the oldest known fossils of our species dated back just 195,000 years. The Moroccan fossils, by contrast, 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.

Today, the closest living relatives to Homo sapiens are chimpanzees and bonobos, with whom we share a common ancestor that lived over six million years ago. After the split from this ancestor, our ancient forebears evolved into many different species, known as hominins.

For millions of years, hominins remained very apelike. They were short, had small brains and could fashion only crude stone tools.

Until now, the oldest fossils that clearly belonged to Homo sapiens were discovered in Ethiopia. In 2003, researchers working at a site called Herto discovered a skull estimated to be between 160,000 and 154,000 years old.

A pair of partial skulls from another site, Omo-Kibish, dated to around 195,000 years of age, at the time making these the oldest fossils of our species.

Findings such as these suggested that our species evolved in a small region — perhaps in Ethiopia, or nearby in East Africa. After Homo sapiens arose, researchers believed, the species spread out across the continent.

Only much later — roughly 70,000 years ago — did a small group of Africans make their way to other continents.

Yet paleoanthropologists were aware of mysterious hominin fossils discovered in other parts of Africa that did not seem to fit the narrative.

In 1961, miners in Morocco dug up a few pieces of a skull at a site called Jebel Irhoud. Later digs revealed a few more bones, along with flint blades.

Slika

Using crude techniques, researchers estimated the remains to be 40,000 years old. In the 1980s, however, a paleoanthropologist named Jean-Jacques Hublin took a closer look at one jawbone.

The teeth bore some resemblance to those of living humans, but the shape seemed strangely primitive. “It did not make sense,” Dr. Hublin, now at the Max Planck Institute, recalled in an interview.

Since 2004, Dr. Hublin and his colleagues have been working through layers of rocks on a desert hillside at Jebel Irhoud. They have found a wealth of fossils, including skull bones from five individuals who all died around the same time.

Just as important, the scientists discovered flint blades in the same sedimentary layer as the skulls. The people of Jebel Irhoud most likely made them for many purposes, putting some on wooden handles to fashion spears.

Many of the flint blades showed signs of having been burned. The people at Jebel Irhoud probably lit fires to cook food, heating discarded blades buried in the ground below. This accident of history made it possible to use the flints as historical clocks.

Dr. Hublin and his colleagues used a method called thermoluminescence to calculate how much time had passed since the blades were burned. They estimated that the blades were roughly 300,000 years old. The skulls, discovered in the same rock layer, must have been the same age.

Despite the age of the teeth and jaws, anatomical details showed they nevertheless belonged to Homo sapiens, not to another hominin group, such as the Neanderthals.

Resetting the clock on mankind’s debut would be achievement enough. But the new research is also notable for the discovery of several early humans rather than just one, as so often happens, said Marta Mirazon Lahr, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge who was not involved in the new study.

“We have no other place like it, so it’s a fabulous finding,” she said.

The people at Jebel Irhoud shared a general resemblance to one another — and to living humans. Their brows were heavy, their chins small, their faces flat and wide. But all in all, they were not so different from people today.

“The face is that of somebody you could come across in the Metro,” Dr. Hublin said.

The flattened faces of early Homo sapiens may have something to do with the advent of speech, speculated Christopher Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London.

“We really are at very early stages of trying to explain these things,” Dr. Stringer said.

The brains of the inhabitants of Jebel Irhoud, on the other hand, were less like our own.

Although they were as big as modern human brains, they did not yet have its distinctively round shape. They were long and low, like those of earlier hominins.

Dr. Gunz, of the Max Planck Institute, said that the human brain may have become rounder at a later phase of evolution. Two regions in the back of the brain appear to have become enlarged over thousands of years.

“I think what we see reflect adaptive changes in the way the brain functions,” he said. Still, he added, no one knows how a rounder brain changed how we think.

The people of Jebel Irhoud were certainly sophisticated. They could make fires and craft complex weapons, such as wooden handled spears, needed to kill gazelles and other animals that grazed the savanna that covered the Sahara 300,000 years ago.

The flint is interesting for another reason: Researchers traced its origin to another site about 20 miles south of Jebel Irhoud. Early Homo sapiens, then, knew how to search out and to use resources spread over long distances.

Similar flint blades of about the same age have been found at other sites across Africa, and scientists have long wondered who made them. The fossils at Jebel Irhoud raise the possibility that they were made by early Homo sapiens.

And if that is true, Dr. Gunz and his colleagues argue, then our species may have been evolving as a network of groups spread across the continent.

John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin who was not involved in the new study, said that it was a plausible idea, but that recent discoveries of fossils from the same era raise the possibility that they were used by other hominins.


World’s oldest Homo sapiens fossils found in Morocco

For decades, researchers seeking the origin of our species have scoured the Great Rift Valley of East Africa. Now, their quest has taken an unexpected detour west to Morocco: Researchers have redated a long-overlooked skull from a cave called Jebel Irhoud to a startling 300,000 years ago, and unearthed new fossils and stone tools. The result is the oldest well-dated evidence of Homo sapiens, pushing back the appearance of our kind by 100,000 years.

“This stuff is a time and a half older than anything else put forward as H. sapiens,” says paleoanthropologist John Fleagle of the State University of New York in Stony Brook.

The discoveries, reported in Nature , suggest that our species came into the world face-first, evolving modern facial traits while the back of the skull remained elongated like those of archaic humans. The findings also suggest that the earliest chapters of our species’s story may have played out across the African continent. “These hominins are on the fringes of the world at that time,” says archaeologist Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.

Back in 1961, miners searching for the mineral barite stumbled on a stunningly complete fossil skull at Jebel Irhoud, 75 kilometers from Morocco’s west coast. With its big brain but primitive skull shape, the skull was initially assumed to be an African Neandertal. In 2007, researchers published a date of 160,000 years based on radiometric dating of a human tooth. That suggested that the fossil represented a lingering remnant of an archaic species, perhaps H. heidelbergensis, which may be the ancestor of both Neandertals and H. sapiens. In any case, the skull still appeared to be younger than the oldest accepted H. sapiens fossils.

Those fossils were found in East Africa, long the presumed cradle of human evolution. At Herto, in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley, researchers dated H. sapiens skulls to about 160,000 years ago farther south at Omo Kibish, two skullcaps are dated to about 195,000 years ago, making them the oldest widely accepted members of our species, until now. “The mantra has been that the speciation of H. sapiens was somewhere around 200,000 years ago,” Petraglia says.

Some researchers thought the trail of our species might have begun earlier. After all, geneticists date the split of humans and our closest cousins, the Neandertals, to at least 500,000 years ago, notes paleoanthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. So you might expect to find hints of our species somewhere in Africa well before 200,000 years ago, he says.

One of the few people who continued to ponder the Jebel Irhoud skull was French paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin, who had begun his career in 1981 studying a jaw found at Jebel Irhoud. When he moved to the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, he got funding to reopen the now-collapsed cave, which is 100 kilometers west of Marrakesh, Morocco. Hublin’s team began new excavations in 2004, hoping to date the small chunk of intact sediment layers and tie them to the original discovery layer. “We were very lucky,” Hublin says. “We didn’t just get dates, we got more hominids.”

The team now has new partial skulls, jaws, teeth, and leg and arm bones from at least five individuals, including a child and an adolescent, mostly from a single layer that also contained stone tools. In their detailed statistical analysis of the fossils, Hublin and paleoanthropologist Philipp Gunz, also of the Max Planck in Leipzig, find that a new partial skull has thin brow ridges. And its face tucks under the skull rather than projecting forward, similar to the complete Irhoud skull as well as to people today. But the Jebel Irhoud fossils also had an elongated brain case and “very large” teeth, like more archaic species of Homo, the authors write.

The pan-African dawn of Homo sapiens

New dates and fossils from Jebel Irhoud in Morocco suggest that our species emerged across Africa. The new findings may help researchers sort out how these selected fossils from the past 600,000 years are related to modern humans and to one another.

The fossils suggest that faces evolved modern features before the skull and brain took on the globular shape seen in the Herto fossils and in living people. “It’s a long story—it wasn’t that one day, suddenly these people were modern,” Hublin says.

Neandertals show the same pattern: Putative Neandertal ancestors such as 400,000-year-old fossils in Spain have elongated, archaic skulls with specialized Neandertal traits in their faces. “It’s a plausible argument that the face evolves first,” says paleoanthropologist Richard Klein of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, although researchers don’t know what selection pressures might drive this.

This scenario hinges on the revised date for the skull, which was obtained from burnt flint tools. (The tools also confirm that the Jebel Irhoud people controlled fire.) Archaeologist Daniel Richter of the Max Planck in Leipzig used a thermoluminescence technique to measure how much time had elapsed since crystalline minerals in the flint were heated by fire. He got 14 dates that yielded an average age of 314,000 years, with a margin of error from 280,000 to 350,000 years. This fits with another new date of 286,000 years (with a range of 254,000 to 318,000 years), from improved radiometric dating of a tooth. These findings suggest that the previous date was wrong, and fit with the known age of certain species of zebra, leopard, and antelope in the same layer of sediment. “From a dating standpoint, I think they’ve done a really good job,” says geochronologist Bert Roberts of the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Once Hublin saw the date, “we realized we had grabbed the very root of the whole species lineage,” he says. The skulls are so transitional that naming them becomes a problem: The team calls them early H. sapiens rather than the “early anatomically modern humans” described at Omo and Herto.

Some people might still consider these robust humans “highly evolved H. heidelbergensis,” says paleoanthropologist Alison Brooks of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She and others, though, think they do look like our kind. “The main skull looks like something that could be near the root of the H. sapiens lineage,” says Klein, who says he would call them “protomodern, not modern.”

The team doesn’t propose that the Jebel Irhoud people were directly ancestral to all the rest of us. Rather, they suggest that these ancient humans were part of a large, interbreeding population that spread across Africa when the Sahara was green about 300,000 to 330,000 years ago they later evolved as a group toward modern humans. "H. sapiens evolution happened on a continental scale,” Gunz says.

Support for that picture comes from the tools that Hublin’s team discovered. They include hundreds of stone flakes that had been hammered repeatedly to sharpen them and two cores—the lumps of stone from which the blades were flaked off—characteristic of the Middle Stone Age (MSA). Some researchers thought that archaic humans such as H. heidelbergensis invented these tools. But the new dates suggest that this kind of toolkit, found at sites across Africa, may be a hallmark of H. sapiens.

The finds will help scientists make sense of a handful of tantalizing and poorly dated skulls from across Africa, each with its own combination of modern and primitive traits. For example, the new date may strengthen a claim that a somewhat archaic partial skull at Florisbad in South Africa, roughly dated to 260,000 years ago, may be early H. sapiens. But the date may also widen the distance between H. sapiens and another species, H. naledi, that lived at this time in South Africa.

The connections among these skulls and the appearance of MSA tools across Africa at this time and possibly earlier shows “a lot of communication across the continent,” Brooks says. “This shows a pan-African phenomenon, with people expanding and contracting across the continent for a long time."


Piece of skull found in Greece ‘is oldest human fossil outside Africa’

A broken skull chiselled from a lump of rock in a cave in Greece is the oldest modern human fossil ever found outside Africa, researchers claim.

The partial skull was discovered in the Apidima cave on the Mani peninsula of the southern Peloponnese and has been dated to be at least 210,000 years old.

If the claim is verified – and many scientists want more proof – the finding will rewrite a key chapter of the human story, with the skull becoming the oldest known Homo sapiens fossil in Europe by more than 160,000 years.

Katerina Harvati, the director of paleoanthropology at the University of Tübingen in Germany, said the skull revealed that at least some modern humans had left Africa far earlier than previously thought and reached further geographically to settle as far away as Europe.

Other fossils of early modern humans found in Israel already point to brief excursions out of Africa, where the species evolved, long before the mass exodus during which Homo sapiens spread from the continent about 70,000 years ago and colonised the world. Paleontologists view the excursions as failed dispersals, with the pioneers ultimately dying out and leaving no genetic legacy in people alive today.

“Our results indicate that an early dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa occurred earlier than previously believed, before 200,000 years ago,” Karvati said. “We’re seeing evidence for human dispersals that are not just limited to one major exodus out of Africa.”

For some researchers, however, the claim is bolder than the evidence can bear. Experts contacted by the Guardian doubted whether the skull really belonged to a modern human, and had concerns about the dating procedure. Flaws in either could fatally undermine the scientists’ narrative.

The story of the skull is unusual from the start. It was found during excavations of the Apidima cave, a hole in a limestone cliff that now towers over the sea, in the late 1970s. The fossil was encased in a lump of rock, mere inches from another skull and several bone fragments. The rock itself was wedged high up between adjacent walls of the cave.

The Homo sapiens timeline

500,000 years ago

Homo sapiens and Neanderthal lineages diverge.

300,000 years

Date of fossils belonging to early Homo sapiens discovered in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco.

195,000 years

Date of Homo sapiens fossils found in Omo Kibish, Ethiopia.

177,000 -194,000 years

Approximate date of Homo sapiens fossils found in Misliya cave, Israel.

100,000 years

Dating of a trove of human teeth found in China.

65,000 years

Archaeological evidence of modern human presence in northern Australia.

60-80,000 years

Major dispersal event from Africa from which all non-Africans are descended.

Once removed from the cave, the skulls were stored in a museum in Athens but received little attention until recently, in part because they are so damaged and incomplete. The second skull, which retains a face, was studied the most and identified as Neanderthal. The first skull, consisting only of the back of the skull, was largely ignored.

Harvati and her co-workers set out to examine both. They took CT scans of the fossils and from these created virtual 3D reconstructions. The 3D models were then compared with skulls from various ancient Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and modern humans.

Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe how their analysis confirmed the second skull, which has a thick, rounded brow ridge, as Neanderthal. But to their surprise, the other partial skull most closely matched that of a modern human. The main evidence was the rounded back and the lack of a classic Neanderthal bulge that looks like hair tied back in a bun.

“The part that is preserved, the back of the skull, is very diagnostic in differentiating Neanderthals and modern humans from each other and from earlier archaic humans,” Harvati said.

The Apidima 1 partial cranium (right) and its reconstruction. The rounded shape of the skull is a unique feature of modern humans and contrasts with Neanderthals and their ancestors Photograph: Katerina Harvati, Eberhard Karls/University of Tübingen

Scientists on the team then dated the fossils with a method that relies on the radioactive decay of natural uranium in the buried remains. The tests found the Neanderthal skull to be at least 170,000 years old and the Homo sapiens skull at least 210,000 years old, with the rock encasing them more than 150,000 years old. The range of ages could be explained by the skulls mixing together in a mudflow that later solidified in the cave.

If at least some early modern humans left Africa more than 210,000 years ago, they may have settled in the Levant before expanding west into Europe, which was already home to Neanderthals. Last year, a modern human fossil dating to nearly 200,000 years old was found in the Misliya cave in northern Israel. Any early human pioneers who did reach Europe died out there, before the Neanderthals themselves were replaced by an influx of Homo sapiens about 40,000 years ago.

Some scientists are calling for more evidence. Warren Sharp at the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California said the team’s tests on the supposedly modern human skull had produced wildly different dates, a sign that uranium may have been lost from the bones over time. “If so, the fossil’s calculated age is too old, and its true age is unknown, calling into question the premise of the paper,” he said.

Juan Luis Arsuaga, a Spanish palaeoanthropologist, said he was not convinced the skull was from an early modern human. “The fossil is too fragmentary and incomplete for such a strong claim,” he said. “In science, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. A partial braincase, lacking the cranial base and the totality of the face, is not extraordinary evidence to my mind.”

John Hawks, a palaeontologist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, voiced similar doubts: “Can we really use a small part of the skull like this to recognise our species?” rekel je. “The storyline in this paper is that the skull is more rounded in the back, with more vertical sides, and that makes it similar to modern humans. I think that when we see complexity, we shouldn’t assume that a single small part of the skeleton can tell the whole story.”


Maba cranium

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Maba cranium, fossil fragments of an ancient human skull found in 1958 near the village of Maba (Ma-pa), Guangdong (Kwangtung) province, southern China. Intermediate in form between Homo erectus in H. sapiens, the remains are referred by many authorities to archaic H. sapiens or to an Asian extension of H. heidelbergensis.

Local farmers discovered the specimen and alerted scientists. The fossils consist of a skullcap and parts of the right upper face, including bones of the nose. As on H. erectus, the browridges are pronounced, forming an arch over each eye, and the bones of the braincase are low and thick. Even so, the brain was apparently larger than that of H. erectus, though precise measurement of cranial capacity is not possible, as the skull’s base is incomplete.

Animal fossils found with the skull have been dated to about 130,000 years ago, during which time Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) occupied Europe. The original scientific description of the specimen noted similarities to European and western Asian Neanderthals, but the Maba cranium lacks the unique anatomic features of Neanderthals and thus makes classification difficult.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Robert Curley, Senior Editor.


315,000-Year-Old Fossils From Morocco Could Be Earliest Recorded Homo Sapiens

Paleoanthropologists carefully excavate the remains of five ancient individuals, discovered in what was once a large cave. The cave at what's now known as the Jebel Irhoud site in Morocco became buried, over the eons, under layers of rock and sediment. Shannon McPherron/Nature skrij napis

Paleoanthropologists carefully excavate the remains of five ancient individuals, discovered in what was once a large cave. The cave at what's now known as the Jebel Irhoud site in Morocco became buried, over the eons, under layers of rock and sediment.

A team of European and Moroccan scientists has found the fossil remains of five individuals who they believe are the most ancient modern humans (Homo sapiens) ever found.

In a remote area of Morocco called Jebel Irhoud, in what was once a cave, the team found a skull, bones and teeth of five individuals who lived about 315,000 years ago. The scientists also found fairly sophisticated stone tools and charcoal, indicating the use of fire by this group.

The researchers' claim is controversial, however, because anthropologists are still debating exactly what physical features distinguish modern humans from our more primitive ancestors.

3-D Jaw

Virtual palaeoanthropology is able to correct distortions and fragmentations of fossil specimens. This reconstruction of the mandible from the Morocco specimen known as Irhoud 11 allows its comparison with archaic hominins, such as Neanderthals, as well as with early forms of anatomically modern humans.

Credit: Jean-Jacques Hublin, MPI-EVA Leipzig

Archaic forms of humans — other, earlier species of Homo — emerged more than a million years ago. Exactly how and when our species — Homo sapiens — evolved is a mystery. Up to now, the oldest known bones widely recognized as Homo sapiens were from people who lived in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. The new discovery in Morocco would push the date for the emergence of our species back another 100,000 years.

Jean-Jacques Hublin directs the department of human evolution at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He led the team that found a skull, bones and stone tools.

Max Planck Institute paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin examines the new finds at Jebel Irhoud, in Morocco. The eye orbits of a crushed human skull more than 300,000 years old are visible just beyond his fingertip. Shannon McPherron/Nature skrij napis

Max Planck Institute paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin examines the new finds at Jebel Irhoud, in Morocco. The eye orbits of a crushed human skull more than 300,000 years old are visible just beyond his fingertip.

"This material represents the very root of our species, the oldest Homo sapiens ever found in Africa or elsewhere," he says.

It's a big claim, described in detail in Hublin's report Wednesday in the journal Narava. Others in his field are skeptical, among them paleoanthropologist Rick Potts, who runs the human origins program at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. He says some of the skull's features, especially its elongated cranium and the shape of the face, suggest it could be a more primitive ancestor of modern humans.

"The new finds from Morocco are a kind of snapshot in that whole process of transition from archaic to us," Potts says. He suspects it's a snapshot from a period just prej modern humans evolved.

This is a common argument in anthropology — where does a newly discovered fossil, especially one with a mix of ancient and more modern features, fit in the bushy family tree of human ancestry?

This composite reconstruction of what its discoverers believe is the earliest known Homo sapien fossil was based on scans of multiple specimens. The virtual imprint of the braincase (blue) indicates that brain shape, and possibly brain function, evolved within the Homo sapien lineage, the scientists say.

Credit: Philipp Gunz, MPI EVA Leipzig

Chris Stringer, an anthropologist at London's Museum of Natural History, says even if the Moroccan skull is a bit of a mashup of modern and archaic features, it's still one of us. "As evolution happens, as we go back in time," he says, "they are going to look less like modern humans. . They have faces which are really like bigger version of our faces."

Stringer and Hublin suggest that the elongated cranium, or braincase, may have been one of the last things in the human line to evolve to what it looks like now (more globular, as anthropologists describe it), perhaps as the brain grew more connections and became more sophisticated.

What je clear, now more than ever, is that humanity's ancestors, and eventually early forms of "us," were popping up all over Africa. They evolved in eastern Africa, southern Africa and now, apparently, northern Africa. And it's increasingly evident that these ancestors moved all over the continent, swapping tool technology as well as genes.

"If there was a 'Garden of Eden'," Hublin says metaphorically, "it's Africa. So the Garden of Eden is the size of Africa." And eventually, after all that evolutionary experimentation on the human form, the current form evolved — somewhere yet to be determined.


Tracing the lineage

The oldest individuals from Bacho Kiro and the Zlatý kůň female are not related to later Europeans, ancient or modern, meaning that their lineages must have disappeared from the region. But, to their surprise, Hajdinjak and her colleagues found that the Bacho Kiro people shared a connection with contemporary East Asians and Native Americans. Hajdinjak suggests that the Bacho Kiro remains represent a population that once lived across Eurasia, but vanished from Europe and lived on in Asia.

The fact that several humans from Bacho Kiro had very recent Neanderthal relatives suggests that the groups mixed routinely in Europe, says Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands who plans to examine European archaeology through this lens.

Stone tools and other artefacts common to the Initial Upper Palaeolithic — and distinct from typical Neanderthal and later human toolkits — could be a product of cultural exchanges or even mixed populations, she says. “We really want to better understand what happened, what was the historical process and how peaceful were those encounters.”


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