Saturday, April 07, 2018

Paleolithic Papers #19

Genus Homo:

A British Columbian family found a hominin trackway dating from 90,000 years ago in South Africa.  This was certainly from the genus Homo and probably even H. sapiens.

Bone retouchers from circa 115,000 years ago were found in China.  John Hawks comments on them.

Paleolithic bone tools from northern China are examined.

A lower density of carnivores in Europe might have allowed hominins to thrive.

Almost immediately after the glaciers retreated in Germany, hominins moved in.

H. sapiens:

A Pleistocene Moroccan had its genetic ancestry traced to the Near East and Subsaharan Africa.

The Toba super eruption did not cause a volcanic winter in eastern Africa.

Modern humans seem to have been just fine in South Africa, too.

John Hawks takes a look at the Toba bottleneck.

Cheddar Man, the prehistoric individual found in Britain with modern descendants in the area had dark skin.  By modern standards, he was black.

Can micro amounts of flint in archaeological sites help indicate if there was flint knapping taking place?

Evidence of modern humans has been found that pushes back our species origin by tens of thousands of years.

Major climate and technological change abounded at the dawn of modern humans.

Footprints of human beings have been found off the coast of Canada dating to the Late Pleistocene.

H. neanderthalensis:

The oldest fire forged multi purpose tool dates from 170,000 years ago in Europe.

Brown Bears, Cave Bears and Neandertals were competitors in Pleistocene Europe.  It seems in some cases, Neandertals actually hunted the bears.

The complexity of Neandertal technology gets discussed.

The classic Neandertal La Ferrassie 1 gets a redescription and that includes new pathologies found.

Neandertals seem to have a rather different thorax than modern humans.

Could Neandertal's lack of drawing be related to how they hunted?  Probably mistaken.  See the next line.

The first cave art is probably Neandertal and predates known modern humans arriving in Europe by 20,000 years.  This suggests Neandertals thought like modern people do. (original paper)

The El Sidrón juvenile Neandertal reconstruction has led to some controversy.

Sima de los Huesos Hominin:

The SdlH hominin had legs more like Neandertals than early modern humans based on their cross section.  This would lend support to the idea the SdlH hominins are basal Neandertals or ancestral to Denisovans and Neandertals.


It appears that Denisovans interbred with modern humans twice.

H. heidelbergensis:

The bite strength of H. heidelbergensis and H. sapiens is compared.

H. naledi:

New excavations are underway at the site where H. naledi was discovered.

The teeth of H. naledi are considered with their potential diet in mind.


The paper "The revised stratigraphy of the hominin-bearing site of Kromdraai (Gauteng, South Africa) and associated perspectives " has been retracted by the editors of the journal.

The evolution of eccrine sweat glands in human lineage gets examined.

Hominid brain size grew over time.  John Hawks takes issue with the paper.  (and he also calls homo floresiensis by its name)

Were grass leaves a source of food for hominins?

Did hominins use stone tools to make nightly defensive shelters from Acacia trees?

Hominins risked ischemia when going bipedal.

Hip extensor mechanics and the evolution of walking upright.

Did Pleistocene hominins really bury their dead?

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