Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.
At present, there’s no evidence that Homo sapiens sapiens left Africa earlier than 120,000 years ago. But at least four sister species were living in East Asia around the time, and three would be contenders for crossing into the Americas. (The fourth is Homo floresiensis, the much-ballyhooed “hobbits” of Indonesia’s island of Flores—but they’re probably not involved.)
Might the tool users have been Homo erectus, our direct ancestors and the earliest known fire-starters? What about Homo neanderthalensis, which had made it to present-day Kazakhstan around the time of the activity at Cerutti? Or could they have been the Denisovans, the enigmatic East Asian group known from DNA samples collected in a single Russian cave?
At present, it’s impossible to say.
Wibbs wrote: »
"Mr Pino said the footprint appears to be that of a barefoot man weighing about 70kg and of the species Hominipes Modernus, a relative of Homo Sapiens." That's an odd way to put it? At 15,000 years old in the Americas it would be almost certainly Homo sapiens, a fully modern human and not a "relative/cousin". It has to be a lost in translation thing.
Adam Khor wrote: »
I was going to comment on this too. Apparently it stems from the paper in which it is said Hominipes modernus (an ichnospecies) is associated with H. sapiens. Somehow they interpreted "associated" as "related to".
gozunda wrote: »
I spotted that tbh. Whilst the find is old for the Americas- its barely a drop in the ocean with regard to the old world. Btw In what way does 'related' and 'associated' differ with regard to known evolution pathways?
"Mr Pino said the footprint appears to be that of a barefoot man weighing about 70kg and of the species Hominipes Modernus, a relative of Homo Sapiens."
Adam Khor wrote: »
In reality, Hominipes modernus is what is known as an ichnospecies; basically, a convenient term to describe a certain kind of track with specific characteristics- in this case, the characteristics of a Homo sapiens footprint.
the two skulls, dated between 12,000 and 17,000 years old, are the oldest human remains ever found in Wallacea—the islands between Java, Papua New Guinea and Australia.
"Although we were aware that modern humans were in Timor and Sulawesi over 40,000 years ago, these remains are the first fossil evidence of modern human presence in Wallacea," Dr. Samper Carro said.
"The area around Alor may have been a sort of 'highway', with people moving through these islands, and finally getting to Australia."
That wasn't the only exciting find.
"What is really interesting is the small size of their heads," Dr. Samper Carro said.
"The size seems to be similar to other remains found later in this region, dated to between 7,000—10,000 years old. This is potentially the result of a reduction in size after the first modern humans settled in these islands.
"This is different to what you find in Australia and other parts of mainland Southeast Asia during the same period, where, in general, humans have larger skulls."
Dr. Samper Carro says one possible explanation for this is the so-called "island effect"—the idea that when humans and other large mammals get to an island where there are not enough food resources and predators, they tend to get smaller, while small mammals will get bigger.
"It's been suggested this is what may've happened to Homo floresiensis (hobbit) and, potentially, it may have also affected the recently discovered Homo luzonensis," Dr. Samper Carro said.
Wibbs wrote: »
I seem to recall Picasso and a few other artists saying similar of other cave art examples, Lascaux being one.
It always seemed to me that the handprints and possibly the dots were a communal thing, with the figurative art being the work of individuals, the "shaman artists" as it were. That these people existed is hard to deny, given the special skills involved. When you look at figures in Chauvet cave where the swoop and heft and underlying muscles of the lion's back, male and female are described in continuous lines, you realise that takes serious artistic skill. The artist has rendered "Lion" in about the fewest strokes possible and rendered their genders and movements. Rembrandt and Picasso, two very different artists, but both were artists who could take a simple line for a walk and bring the viewer somewhere beyond that line with them and IMHO they would have been impressed by the Chauvet artist.
One area that illustrates the likelihood of such specialists is Palaeolithic sculpture. Now things like spear throwers were often decorated in relief to varying depths and in many cases it looks like by the owners as the skill varies as one might expect. Objects, figures like the various Venus' and the Lion Man require far more skill and considerably more time to produce.
You're talking hundreds of hours to produce something like that. I've tried carving hawthorn wood with chert tools and yes it's a tough wood, but nothing like bone or ivory and it was hard going. Antler was way worse. Sure heating the material can help, but you'd yearn for a Dremel with each cut. Never mind that this kinda thing was done in what we'd see as rough shelter in natural or by campfire light in pretty crappy weather for the most part, where your tribe were very aware of just purely surviving in many cases, as periods of famine recorded in teeth testify(though Neandertals show more of that. We were more efficient in food gathering it seems).
What always interested me and it's something I've not read too often, if ever, is that in this period, the art of "us" in Europe is the same across large distances. From Spain through France into Germany modern humans are creating essentially the same art(and tool making). Which suggests to me a shared culture across those distances. Maybe even similar languages and overall culture and religions.
If you look at examples of Neandertal art and culture where they're found, they're less in evidence and are quite different between groups. The Eagle Talon people of Italy are alone in that pursuit, the shell decorators of Spain are alone in that. I would see them as territorial like wolves in the landscape and individual culture was a reflection of that, a Them V Us. Whereas we come in with a large "monoculture" by comparison. Which might explain one reason why we "won". There was a bigger "Us" overall compared to their myriad "Thems".
Another interesting and counterintuitive aspect is the "best" most accomplished art is the earliest and it tends to get simpler and less accomplished over time. This threw earlier researchers who understandably assumed the more "primitive" art was the earliest. Carbon dating upset the applecart there.
Adam Khor wrote: »
I didn´t know about the decreasing complexity thing. What do you imagine as possible causes?