Section B- Human Evolution



  •  c. 250,000BP (European and Asian ice ages). New species developed and adapted to the new enviroment.
  • Developed a range of scrapers and hand axes.
  • Burried their dead.
  • Could they speak? (Large implications for our understanding of the superiority of modern humans). Evidence of Neanderthal physiological capability- were their brains capable of using it?
  • Eliminitaed by Homo-Sapiens? Or inter-breeding? 
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Out of Arfica 1: c.1 million years ago

  • Homo erectus (immediatley pre- modern humans) leaving Africa c.1 million years ago.
  • Replacing all other hominid species via migration.
  • Facilitated by climate change or adaption to new enviroments.
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Human Evolution

  • 98.4% of our DNA as modern humans is identical to that of a chimpanzee.
  • Around 5.4mya (Million years ago) there was diversification into early hominid forms.
  • New discoveries in such a controversial area can have a massive impact on the state of knowledge and our sense of where we came from.
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Out of Africa 2

  • Oldest evidence for Homo Sapiens= c.130,000BP- remains in east and southern Africa.
  • African 'Eve' c.195,000mya- Omo Valley, Ethiopia (skull)
  • c.90,000BP- Israel, possible overlap with Neanderthals?
  • Homo-Sapiens=lighter bones.
  • Probably had language, ritual and art from and early stage.
  • Oldest evidence for art: Ocre from Blombos cave, South Africa c.70,000BP.
  • Pace of change and creativity seems to increase dramatically around c.50,000BP (the 'human revolution'-cognitive, abstract and symbolic thought- origins of modern human thinking?).
  • Paleolithic cave art e.g. Lascaux France, c.30,000BP.
  • Earliest modern humans in British Isles: 'The Red Lady of Paviland', Wales c.20,000BP (Actually male).
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Evidence for migration into Europe

  • c.195,000BP- Omo Valley, Ethiopia (Hominin fossils).
  • c.100,000BP- Skhul cave, Israel (Skull)
  • c.80,000BP- Grotte des Pigeons, Morrocco (Shell beads)
  • c.70,000BP- Blombos cave, South Africa (Carved red ocre)
  • c.60,000BP- Ueagizli, South Turkey (Shell beads)
  • c.40,000BP- Dolni Vestonice, Czech Republic
  • c.40,000BP- Cave of Pestera Cu Oase (Skull)
  • c.30,000BP- Lascaux cave, France (Cave paintings)
  • c.20,000BP- Red Lady of Paviland, Wales
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'Replacement' or 'Noah's Arch' theory

  • Modern Humans all originating in a small population in Africa.
  • Complete and comparitively rapid replacement across Europe.
  • African 'Eve' c.200,000mya
  • Popular theory because sees all modern non- African populations as descended from a singular 'tribe' of a few hundred who left Southern Africa around 90,000BP.
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Multi- regional or 'Candelabra' Model

  • Sees modern humans around the world as having developed from regional Homo erectus populations.
  • Some regional differences between modern human populations around the world seem to derive from/ reflect differences between earlier hominid species.
  • Homo sapiens could have developed in parallel in Africa, Asia and possibly Europe.
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Modern Humans and Neanderthals?

  • Neanderthals- c.250,000BP
  • Cave of Pestera Cu Oase, Romania c.40,000BP: Human skull; oldest human remains in Europe.
  • 50% Neanderthan DNA in chromosomes- interbreeding?
  • Did Neanderthals and modern humans interbreed? Is this site the only place they did?
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Evidence of Art- Was there a Creative Explosion?

  • Grotte des Pigeons, Morrocco c.80,000BP- oldest evidence of art- shell beads and traces of red ocre.
  • Blombos cave, South Africa c.70,000BP- red ocre carving
  • Ueagizli, Southern Turkey c.60,000BP- shell beads
  • Dolni Vestonice, Czech Republic c.40,000BP- Venus figurine and exploded ceramic figures
  • Lascaux cave, France c.30,000BP- cave paintings and symbolism- Lascaux birdman
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The Upper Palaeolithic Human Revolution

  • c.50,000-30,000BP
  • Greater variety of tools-bone and antler working
  • Art, Music and symbolic behaviour e.g. cave art
  • Expansion of homo-sapiens into harsher climates
  • Elaborate burials e.g. Dolni Vestonice
  • Biological/ neurological change c.50,000BP? OR facilitated by growing population?
  • Changes are ascribed to homo-sapien adaption.
  • Greater efficiency through division of labour.
  • Tents, clothing and storage.
  • Tools and weapns made better- large prey could now be killed at a distance.
  • Around 5x more people survived into 'old age'- accumulation of knolwedge.
  • The 'Grandmother revolution' allowed younger adults to specialise- more time.
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The Upper Palaeolithic Human Revolution- Gradual

  • Some evidence for use of symbolism earlier than the Eurasion 'revolution'- Key difference = pace of change.
  • Much of the evidence could have been organic in nature.
  • Grotte des Pigeons, Morrocco c.80,000BP- shell beads
  • Skhul Cave, Israel c.100,000BP
  • Ucagizli, Southern Turkey c.60,000BP- perforated shells- markers of modern humans on way to Europe?
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Upper Palaeolithic human revolution- Dolni Vestoni

  • Carpathian Mountains, Czech Republic
  • Open-air site, near natural 'gate' in the mountains- interception of migratory animals.
  • Venus figurine- similarto those found at Willendorf- similar designs all over Europe; shared culture?
  • Mammoth bones, lithic manufacture.
  • Manufacture of red ocre powder- for burials.
  • Exploded ceramic figures- deliberate act/ ritual aspect of manufacture?
  • Triple burial- 3 young adults and symbolic use of red ocre over female's pelvice- Broken marriage laws?
  • Burial of a child- fox-tooth necklace and covered by mammoth shoulder blade.
  • Woman in her 40s burried with the body of a fox- 'grandmother revolution'- time and resources freed up for social development.
  • 'Aggregation site'- behavoural and social changes in c.40,000-20,000BP may have been facilitated.
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