Aspects of human physical and behavioural evolution during the last 1 million years
Galway-Witham et al.
Journal of quaternary science, 2019
This paper reviews some of the main advances in ourunderstanding of human evolution over the last 1million years, presenting a holistic overview of a field definedby interdisciplinary approaches to studying the origins of ourspecies. We begin by briefly summarizing the climatic context across the Old World for the last 1 million years beforedirectly addressing the fossil and archaeological records. The main themes in this work explore (i) recent discoveries in thefossil record over the last 15 years, such asHomo nalediandHomo floresiensis; (ii) the implications of palaeogenetics forunderstanding the evolutionary history of, and relationships between, Neanderthals, Denisovans andHomo sapiens; (iii)the interplay between physiology and metabolic demand, landscape use, and behavioural adaptations in the evolution ofmorphological and behavioural innovation; and (iv) recent advances in archaeological understanding for the behaviouralrecord, in particular that of the Neanderthals. This paper seeks to provide a broad‐scale, holistic perspective of our currentunderstanding of human evolution for the last 1 Ma, providing a reference point for researchers that can be built upon asnew discoveries continue to develop the landscapes of human evolution.
Identifying early modern human ecological niche expansions and associated cultural dynamics in the South African Middle Stone Age
D’Errico et al.
The archaeological record shows that typically human cultural traits emerged at different times, in different parts of the world, and among different hominin taxa.
[…] These results counter the one niche/one human taxon equation. They indicate that what makes our cultures, and probably the cultures of other members of our lineage, unique is their flexibility and ability to produce innovations that allow a population to shift its ecological niche.
The extension of biology through culture
Whiten et al.
Recent decades have revealed that social learning and the transmission of cultural traditions are much more widespread in the animal kingdom than earlier suspected, affecting numerous forms of functional behavior and creating a secondary form of evolution, built onto the better-known primary, genetically based form. New scientific approaches to the study of human cultural evolution have also emerged and become productive. However, these developments in the study of cultural phenomena in both human and nonhuman animals have yet to be seriously integrated into mainstream evolutionary biology.
Biface distributions and the Movius Line: A Southeast Asian perspective
Brumm & Moore
Australian archeology, 2012
The ‘Movius Line’ is the putative technological demarcation line mapping the easternmost geographical distribution of Acheulean bifacial tools. It is traditionally argued by proponents of the Movius Line that ‘true’ Acheulean bifaces, especially handaxes, are only found in abundance in Africa and western Eurasia, whereas in eastern Asia, in front of the ‘line’, these implements are rare or absent altogether. Here we argue, however, that the Movius Line relies on classifying undated surface bifaces as Acheulean on typological grounds alone, a long-standing and widely accepted practice in Africa and western Eurasia, but one that is not seen as legitimate in eastern Asian contexts. A review of the literature shows that bifaces are relatively common as surface finds in Southeast Asia and on this basis we argue that the Movius Line is in need of reassessment.
An early and enduring advanced technology originating 71,000 years ago in South Africa
Brown et al.
Microliths were common worldwide by the mid-Holocene epoch, but have a patchy pattern of first appearance that is rarely earlier than 40,000 years ago9,10, and were thought to appear briefly between 65,000 and 60,000 years ago in South Africa and then disappear. Our research extends this record to ∼71,000 years, shows that microlithic technology originated early in South Africa, evolved over a vast time span (∼11,000 years), and was typically coupled to complex heat treatment that persisted for nearly 100,000 years. Advanced technologies in Africa were early and enduring; a small sample of excavated sites in Africa is the best explanation for any perceived ‘flickering’ pattern.
Evolution, Revolution or Saltation Scenario for the Emergence of Modern Cultures ?
Francesco d’Errico & Christopher Brian Stringer
Philosophical transactions of the royal society B biological sciences, 2011
Our review of the evidence contradicts the idea that the emergence of crucial technological innovations and symbolic material culture was the result of a
sudden change in human cognition occurring in Europe or Africa approximately 40–50 ka, or just in Africa approximately 60–80 ka.
The scope of culture in chimpanzees, humans and ancestral apes
Proceedings of the royal society B, 2011
More studies have focused on aspects of chimpanzee behaviour and cognition relevant to the evolution of culture than on any other species except our own. Accordingly, analysis of the features shared by chimpanzees and humans is here used to infer the scope of cultural phenomena in our last common ancestor, at the same time clarifying the nature of the special characteristics that advanced further in the hominin line. To do this, culture is broken down into three major aspects: the large scale, population-level patterning of traditions; social learning mechanisms; and the behavioural and cognitive contents of culture. Each of these is further dissected into subcomponents. Shared features, as well as differences, are identified in as many as a dozen of these, offering a case study for the comparative analysis of culture across animal taxa and a deeper understanding of the roots of our own cultural capacities.
Complex Projectile Technology and Homo sapiens Dispersal into Western Eurasia
Shea & Sisk
This paper proposes that complex projectile weaponry was a key strategic innovation driving Late Pleistocene human dispersal into western Eurasia after 50 Ka. It argues that complex projectile weapons of the kind used by ethnographic hunter-gatherers, such as the bow and arrow, and spearthrower and dart, enabled Homo sapiens to overcome obstacles that constrained previous human dispersal from Africa to temperate western Eurasia. In the East Mediterranean Levant, the only permanent land bridge between Africa and Eurasia, stone and bone projectile armatures like those used in the complex weapon systems of recent humans appear abruptly ca 45–35 Ka in early Upper Paleolithic contexts associated with Homo sapiens fossils. Such artifacts are absent from Middle Paleolithic contexts associated with Homo sapiens and Neandertals. Hypotheses concerning the indigenous vs. exogenous origins of complex projectile weaponry in the Levant are reviewed. Current evidence favors the hypothesis that complex projectile technology developed as an aid to ecological niche broadening strategies among African popu-lations between 50–100 Ka. It most likely spread to western Eurasia along with dispersing Homo sapiens popula-tions. Neandertals did not routinely deploy projectile weapons as subsistence aids. This puzzling gap in their otherwise impressive record for survival in some of the harshest environments ever occupied by primates may reflect energetic constraints and time-budgeting factors associated with complex technology.
Cultural innovation and demographic change
Richerson et al.
Human biology, 2009
Demography plays a large role in cultural evolution through its effects on the effective rate of innovation. If we
assume that useful inventions are rare, then small isolated societies will have low rates of invention. In small
populations, complex technology will tend to be lost as a result of random loss or incomplete transmission
(the Tasmanian effect). Large populations have more inventors and are more resistant to loss by chance.
Late Pleistocene Demography and the Appearance of Modern Human Behavior
Powell et al.
The origins of modern human behavior are marked by increased symbolic and technological complexity in the archaeological record. In western Eurasia this transition, the Upper Paleolithic,occurred about 45,000 years ago, but many of its features appear transiently in southern Africa about 45,000 years earlier. We show that demography is a major determinant in the maintenanceof cultural complexity and that variation in regional subpopulation density and/or migratoryactivity results in spatial structuring of cultural skill accumulation. Genetic estimates of regionalpopulation size over time show that densities in early Upper Paleolithic Europe were similar tothose in sub-Saharan Africa when modern behavior first appeared. Demographic factors can thus explain geographic variation in the timing of the first appearance of modern behavior withoutinvoking increased cognitive capacity.
Rethinking the human revolution new behavioural and biological perspectives on the origin and dispersal of modern humans
Paul Mellars et al.
Owbow books, Oxford, 2007 (livre)
Table des matières : https://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/files/humanrevolution_toc.pdf
The revolution that wasn’t: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior
McBrearty & Brooks
Journal of human evolution, 2000
Proponents of the model known as the “human revolution” claim that modern human behaviors arose suddenly, and nearly simultaneously, throughout the Old World ca. 40–50 ka. This fundamental behavioral shift is purported to signal a cognitive advance, a possible reorganization of the brain, and the origin of language. Because the earliest modern human fossils, Homo sapiens sensu stricto, are found in Africa and the adjacent region of the Levant at >100 ka, the “human revolution” model creates a time lag between the appearance of anatomical modernity and perceived behavioral modernity, and creates the impression that the earliest modern Africans were behaviorally primitive. This view of events stems from a profound Eurocentric bias and a failure to appreciate the depth and breadth of the African archaeological record. In fact, many of the components of the “human revolution” claimed to appear at 40–50 ka are found in the African Middle Stone Age tens of thousands of years earlier. These features include blade and microlithic technology, bone tools, increased geographic range, specialized hunting, the use of aquatic resources, long distance trade, systematic processing and use of pigment, and art and decoration. These items do not occur suddenly together as predicted by the “human revolution” model, but at sites that are widely separated in space and time. This suggests a gradual assembling of the package of modern human behaviors in Africa, and its later export to other regions of the Old World. The African Middle and early Late Pleistocene hominid fossil record is fairly continuous and in it can be recognized a number of probably distinct species that provide plausible ancestors for H. sapiens. The appearance of Middle Stone Age technology and the first signs of modern behavior coincide with the appearance of fossils that have been attributed to H. helmei, suggesting the behavior of H. helmei is distinct from that of earlier hominid species and quite similar to that of modern people. If on anatomical and behavioral grounds H. helmei is sunk into H. sapiens, the origin of our species is linked with the appearance of Middle Stone Age technology at 250–300 ka.