Saturday, July 07, 2018

Paleolithic Papers #21

Genus Homo:

Why are human brains so large?  What genes make our brains grow so much larger than most other animals in relative terms?  Does the size come at a cost?

H. sapiens:

Who were the Nataruk people?

The Zhoukoudian Cave's human habitation is 35 thousand years old.

Mesolithic Mediterranean people's diet has been discovered via analysis of their teeth.

More evidence suggests modern humans colonized the Americas via the coastal route.

Paleogenetic evidence also suggests two different lineages did the colonization.

Mesolithic intestinal parasites have been found in Sweden.

Diets of the Niah Cave residents might be detectable from their mandibles.

The Clovis tech and skeletal remains from the Anzick site are, in fact, from the same time frame at the Holocene/Pleistocene boundary.

The interaction between modern humans and the archaic populations it replaced in Africa as it evolved needs to be examined.

Late Pleistocene tools in Sri Lanka show what plants the locals were eating at the time.

H. neanderthalensis:

How DID Neandertals hunt?  By not throwing, it appears, but by close-quarters thrusts and stabs.

New insights into the Neandertal thorax.


Stone tools from the Denisovan cave were used to butcher animals.

H. erectus:

How H. erectus may have interacted with a lake margin ecology.

H. naledi:

Based on studying the teeth of H. naledi, it definitely appears to be a member of the genus Homo.

H. habilis:

The biomechanics of the OH 8 foot get examined.

Genus Australopithecus:

The cranial thickness of the StW 578 hominin (A. africanus, iirc) gets examined and similarities to modern humans are found, while differences from Paranthropus are uncovered as well.

The DIK-1-1f A. afarensis child has finally been described.  Among the interesting features is the child had ankles and feet that would help it climb trees, unlike the adults of the same species.  The big toe, as a child, was far, far more mobile than as an adult.  This would allow for grasping while climbing.  However, the child would lose this as it grew up.  Even as a child though, the Dikka hominin was definitely bipedal.


The environment of 2 million years ago where hominins lived was wetter than previously thought.

Muscles thought to be uniquely human have been found in great apes.

How hominins leading to humans carved out their unique niche and how it differed from apes.

Studying breakage patterns on bones could have been produced by hominins.

Caution with studying collagen from prehistoric hominin fossils is warranted.

Large size might have evolved already by the time of the last common ancestor of humans and chimps.

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