Saturday, February 09, 2019

Paleolithic Papers #26

Genus Homo:

How our ancestors survived and adapted 250k years ago.

In the last million years, the mutation rate in the human line has greatly decreased.

Estimating Late middle Pleistocene population sizes.

Hominins may be ecologically unique.

The introgression and hybridization between modern H. sapiens and archaic hominins gets examined.

Ancient DNA from Africa has been starting to be uncovered.

H.  sapiens:

Dogs appear to have been helping hunt as far back as 11,5000 years ago.

Do few tools found mean few people were present?

The seasonal scheduling of shellfish collection from the Mesolithic and more recent are examined.

The oldest dog burial known to date has been found in the Americas dating from the end of the Pleistocene.

Why modern humans evolved different colored skin.

A femur with some unique traits, but probably from anatomically modern humans from the Niah Caves in Malaysia gets examined.

The raw materials used in stone tools in Israel by early H. sapiens is explored.

H. neanderthalensis:

The foot bones of individuals from Montignac-sur-Vézère, Dordogne, France are examined.

The introgression of Neandertals and other archaic hominids had an impact on gene expression in Eurasian populations.

Neandertal spears could be thrown successfully to kill.

Modern humans replaced Neandertals at Bajondillo Cave in Spain 44kya, surprisingly early.

Neandertals introgressing into modern human populations reintroduced alleles that were lost when the ancestors of modern eurasians left africa.

The book, The Smart Neanderthal, gets reviewed.

Neandertals appear to have, in at least a few instances, mass prey killers and then only taken the best parts, leaving the rest.  John Hawks replies.  He also discusses the mass kill site at Gran Dolina, Spain.


The Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains was occupied by Denisovans from 192,000 years to almost 52,000 years ago with a period where Neandertals were present.  Stone tools from a hominin date from 300,000 years ago, but it is not clear who made them.  The site was occupied at least until 20,000 years ago.

New unknown hominins:

There appears there is another hominin that modern people recently interbred with.

An archaic hominin from between 150k to 250k years ago had modern tooth eruption.

H. antecessor:

While similar to modern humans in many ways, H. antecessor's were very different.

H. erectus:

It appears Chinese H. erectus populations might have been diverging from Indonesian populations.

Genus Australopithecus:

The era of Australopithecus in South Africa gets a multidisciplinary examination.

Did australopithecines associate with antelope to avoid predators?

A. sediba:

A. sediba is unique species.

A. africanus:

Recently, authors suggested a specimen was of a new species of Australopithecus and resurrected an old name for A. africanus ("A. prometheus").  John Hawks discusses why this won't work.

The long limb bones of StW 573 are studied and discussed..

The bony labyrinth of StW 573 is detailed and what its implications are.

The forearm bones were asymmetrical on StW 573: could that have been a sign of antemortem trauma?

The dental wear of StW 573 was more like A. anamensis than other australopithecines.  Was this evidence it was from a different species than A. africanus?

StW 573's functional anatomy, biomechanical capabilities and potential niche are discussed in light of the new information gathered.

The site where StW 573 was found and its past investigations are detailed.

A. anamensis:

The environment A. anamensis lived in gets examined.


The central place of Africa in human evolution.

Could early hominins crossed water?

How did humans lose their hair and get sweaty?

The importance of human foot muscles to bipedalism.

A new book on the impact of tectonics on human evolution gets reviewed.

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