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Content created 2010-10-05
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Homo sapiens

Most Famous Specimens:
Cro-Magnon, Kennewick Man, Liujiang Man
Found only in Africa until about 95 tya; most of Eurasia by 35 tya; probably arrived in Australia by 60 tya and in the Americas before 16 tya.
Time Range:
200 tya to present.
Like us. (Earlier forms more robust than later ones.)
Cranial Capacity:
1350 cc.
Cranial Features:
More rounded head with a higher forehead, flattened face, and very much reduced brow ridges. Prominent chin may be the result of general reduction of the face or may have another cause not yet discovered.
Postcranial Features:
Taller but much less robust than earlier Homo forms.
Virtually the whole planet except Antarctica.
Special Note:
Beginning about 60-40 tya, cave painting, sculpture, personal ornamentation, burial goods, probable “religious” practice, extensive use of antler or bone, more varied tool types and techniques. The seemingly abrupt appearance of a wealth of new artifacts marked the beginning of the period called the Upper Paleolithic.
bildo The Liujiang skull (left), from Guangxi Province in south China, represents several of the complexities involved in identifying H. sapiens. The site where it was found has been dated to about 68 tya, but other specialists suspect a much older date, perhaps between 111 tya and 140 tya. All of these dates seem incompatible with the Mitochondrial Eve hypothesis if Liujiang is ancestral to any modern population, but it looks too modern to belong a collateral line of humans. But other specialists, based on other data, suspect a date of between 10 tya and 30 tya. That would fit with the look of the bones, and would make it later than some other Chinese fossil humans. But in that case what is it doing in a context with such early dates?
Wikipedia link


The "Old Man of Cro-Magnon"
(Dept of Anthropology, UCSD)


Waxwork Reconstruction of "Old Man of Cro-Magnon"
(San Diego Museum of Man)

photo by DKJ

Upper-Paleolithic (Solutrean)
Bear Hunter
Sophisticated tools of Cro-Magnon humans did not end the occasional use of earlier techniques.
(Parc Préhisto, Tussac, France)


Magdalenian Hunter With Harpoon, a Typical Upper-Paleolithic Weapon

(Parc Préhisto, Tussac, France)

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