We have updated our Privacy Notice, you can read the updated document here
Mods please check the Moderators Group for an important update on Mod tools. If you do not have access to the group, please PM Niamh. Thanks!

The ancient Homo sapiens Thread

13

Comments

  • #2


    This is not precisely paleontology, but the statue does seem to be from 11,500 years ago, so it would certainly qualify as prehistoric. At the time it was made, woolly mammoths and sabercats still existed.

    https://siberiantimes.com/science/others/news/beavers-teeth-used-to-carve-the-oldest-wooden-statue-in-the-world/

    inside%20full%20length%20colour.jpg


  • #2


    I can see their confusion. That's one archaic looking skull. No forehead to speak of going on, very large brow ridges and the eyes very widely spaced apart.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



  • #2


    Guess that means the archaic brow bone from Chapala, Mexico may have been from an early sapiens as well?

    chapala-brow-ridge.jpg

    A bit dissapointing- non-sapiens hominin in America sounded exciting.


  • #2


    Just going on that piece of bone who knows AK. We need more evidence. Though I'd not be surprised at all to find archaic hominids in the Americas. I'm more surprised they weren't there. Ditto for Australia(if not more so). Erectus got everywhere in the old world, including far flung islands that were never connected by land bridges where they required some sort of ocean going capability. It's been suggested events like tsunamis and the like washed them to such places, but I have a hard time believing that.

    Problem being the lack of evidence. Arrowhead collecting has long been a hobby in the US and yet nobody has found definitive archaic human tools(though they can be hard to recognise). That could be down to a tiny population that maybe only lasted there for a short time, or people are looking in the long places, or ignoring evidence because they're not looking for it. But then there's this...



    Back in the early 90's a mastodon skeleton was discovered in California during roadworks. Fairly common, only the bones had unusual breaks and large stones were found all around the site in situ with the bones. The bones had been laid down in silt and fine grained silt deposition doesn't include big rocks. The site's age? 130,000 years old.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



  • #2


    Naturally I had to look up that Californian find. This is from a National Geographic article:
    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.

    I find it fascinating to think that a hypothetical non-sapiens hominin in North America may have been at the root of stories like the ma'xemestaa'e of the Cheyenne, who described them as a race of either extinct or nearly extinct hairy humanoids who dwelled in caves and were very strong and potentially dangerous, but usually shy and avoidant of humans.


  • #2


    Footprints found in Chile is 'oldest' in the Americas

    See:

    https://www.rte.ie/news/2019/0428/1046103-chile-footprint/


  • #2


    "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.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



  • #2


    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.

    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".


  • #2


    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".

    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?

    Edit. Btw thread title should be Hominid not Humanoid- if they found an ancient one of those - it really would be news :D


  • #2


    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?

    It's really not so much a matter of evolutionary terms.

    The reporter states that:
    "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."

    Which is misleading, as it implies that Hominipes modernus is a separate hominin species, a relative of Homo sapiens, but different, kind of like Homo erectus or Homo neanderthalensis.

    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.

    Because we have never confirmed the presence of any hominins other than Homo sapiens in the Americas, it follows that any Hominipes modernus footprint found in the continent can be safely associated with Homo sapiens, and in the remote case that hominin footprints with obviously differing morphology were ever found in the Americas, suggesting a different species, they would not be called Hominipes modernus, but most likely given a new ichnospecies name (and it would certainly be huge news indeed!).


  • #2


    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.
    And even that has problems as the human foot has looked pretty much the same for nigh on a million years and looking at the track in question the level of detail, or lack of it, can tell you little but that it's human. If it was found to be 200,000 years old it would look the same.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



  • #2


    The 14.000 year old tracks show they walked and crawled through the cave using pine stick torches:

    https://www.livescience.com/65476-ancient-human-footprints-in-cave.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dlvr.it

    aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzEwNS82Njgvb3JpZ2luYWwvaHVtYW4tZm9vdHByaW50cy1jYXZlLmpwZz8xNTU3ODU5OTI0


  • #2


    Interesting find, though I'd want much more evidence. Single incomplete skulls while fascinating are not so diagnostic as some seem to still believe. The Georgian Erectus finds showed that. A half dozen individuals that if had been found separately with different ages would have almost certainly been labelled as new subspecies.

    That's not to say modern humans didn't reach Europe earlier, even much earlier. It has long puzzled me why they show up in Asia, even east Asia down to Australia thousands of years before they show up in Europe. Some researchers have been keen to label some scattered and very rare very early European cave paintings and other cultural "art" as Neandertal on the basis that moderns couldn't have been around. Maybe they were.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



  • #2


    Feeding mostly on giant mole rats, it seems:

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-08/09/c_138297080.htm

    Today, the Bale mountains are known for their endangered Ethiopian wolves, which also feed mostly on the mole rats.

    c0.jpg


  • #2


    Small human skulls found on Alor island, Indonesia

    Apparently these are Homo sapiens skulls, but the article implies that they may have been a case of insular dwarfism...

    smallskullsp.jpg

    https://phys.org/news/2019-08-small-skulls-human-migration-highway.html?fbclid=IwAR2xrSXJmlYK-cKc43lGsZLen2jN_4Pxy3_l-en2lwz7vV4c_t5OdS3x-94
    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.


  • #2


    Colorful Altamira bison paintings were made all by the same artist, suggests Spanish academic:

    12_Vista_general_del_techo_de_pol%C3%ADcromos.jpg

    https://www.eldiariocantabria.es/articulo/cultura/bisontes-cueva-altamira-son-obra-unico-autor-autor-neocueva/20191009211421065914.html?fbclid=IwAR1EXZB_rowvLzlILoV2W1Uz93A-1WQjmGm3YqFJTwM4dhdNp2ocDwACpvM

    Article is in Spanish. From what I gather, academic and artist Pedro Saura, who was responsible for painting the cave reconstruction known as the Neocueva on display to the public, believes that several people painted on the cave walls during its 20.000 years of habitation, but it wasn´t a communal activity, but rather the work of individual people, the artist of each group whose skill was recognized by the community. These would've been "professionals".

    The best known Altamira figures are the bisons, which he believes were painted by one single person, who used the exact same technique for all of them. Going by his own artistic training, he believes he can see the artists' unique signature in all of the figures,


  • #2


    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.

    two_black_lions3.jpg

    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.

    Ulm-Lion-Man-40000-years-old.jpg

    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.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



  • #2


    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.

    two_black_lions3.jpg

    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.

    Ulm-Lion-Man-40000-years-old.jpg

    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.

    Great post as always, Wibbs!

    I didn´t know about the decreasing complexity thing. What do you imagine as possible causes?


  • #2


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    I didn´t know about the decreasing complexity thing. What do you imagine as possible causes?
    God knows AK. Maybe it became "simpler" because there was more of it and it needed to be? Or it just became more of a shorthand that more people could do because more people were needed to do it? Or there was a shift in materials and techniques? Or simply "fashion"? If you look at public typestyles today, they're simpler than they were say in the late 19th century when such things were more complex and fruity. That showed off the fashion and the skill of the signwriters, now it's more likely to be computer generated and we prefer the less cluttered for different reasons.

    It is odd though. Odder is that this complexity and prowess seems to spring from nowhere "overnight". There's no current evidence of the evolution of such style and prowess. We go from very little, to blobs and abstract doodlings to incredible renderings of figurative reality. It's a headscratcher.

    The other aspect is how we view things today. We ascribe skill and art in a certain way and that may not have been the way they did over time. What to us is the "better" of the earliest art, might have seemed to those who followed old fashioned and fussy.

    EG: take late 19th century interiors.

    909314aa1ee686c9d26c9a5ac81aec95.jpg

    That requires a lot of skill and "art" to make the individual components of that room style. Whereas today most people would find that overly fussy and cluttered and most would prefer an "IKEA room" by comparison, all clean and uncluttered, with splashes of bold colour. Something that would have horrified the Victorian viewer and in the future could make a researcher think that we today are less complex and less skilled.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



  • #2


    Who judges it I wonder, 'art critics' or archaeologists? If you know what I mean.. like I could easily imagine in a few thousands years if all that is left to go on is a Bosch and a Warhol if similar conclusions wouldn't be drawn.

    Edit: Well maybe WArhol is a bad example since you don't find one in every house but there are other common paintings and artists that appear technically less involved than a Bosch or Brugel. In many cases it's more what they did new and different that makes them worthy rather than technical proficiency.

    Music would be another area where it might appear we have regressed.. of course then there is also the bias issue of what was preserved/recorded since the folk music the majority would have listened to probably hasn't changed very much, but even we aren't so sure because so little of the experience of the majority common folk was recorded.

    Sorry, rambling at the moment :D


  • #2


    Prehistoric people knew how to preserve bone marrow for later:

    https://www.israel21c.org/prehistoric-cave-dwellers-canned-marrow-to-eat-later/

    Image_3.jpg


  • #2


    The other hominins, first victims of the still ongoing Sixth Extinction?

    https://phys.org/news/2019-11-humans-victims-sixth-mass-extinction.html

    wereotherhum.jpg


Society & Culture