Early modern humans

"Homo sapiens sapiens" and "H. s. sapiens" redirect here.

The term anatomically modern humans[1] (AMH) or anatomically modern Homo sapiens[2] (AMHS) refers in paleoanthropology to individual members of the species Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans.

Anatomically-modern humans evolved from archaic Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago.[3] The emergence of anatomically-modern human marks the dawn of the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens,[4] i.e. the subspecies of Homo sapiens that includes all modern humans. The oldest fossil remains of anatomically-modern humans are the Omo remains, which date to 195,000 (±5,000) years ago and include two partial skulls as well as arm, leg, foot and pelvis bones.[5][6]

Other fossils include the proposed Homo sapiens idaltu from Herto in Ethiopia that are almost 160,000 years old[7] and remains from Skhul in Israel that are 90,000 years old.[8]

Nomenclature and anatomy

The binomial name for the taxonomic species of the human population is Homo sapiens. The species is usually taken to have emerged out of a predecessor within the Homo genus around 200,000 years ago.[9][10]

Anatomically modern humans are distinguished from their immediate ancestors, archaic Homo sapiens, by a number of anatomical features. Archaic Homo sapiens had robust skeletons indicating that they lived a physically demanding life; this can mean that anatomically-modern humans, with their gracile frames, had become dependent on technology rather than on raw physical power to meet the challenges of their environment.

Archaic Homo sapiens also had prominent brow ridges (protruding layers of bone above the eye socket). With the emergence of anatomically-modern humans, the brow ridges had reduced, and in modern humans they are, on average, barely visible. Another distinguishing feature of AMH is a prominent chin, something which is lacking in archaic Homo sapiens.

AMH commonly have a vertical forehead whereas their predecessors had foreheads that sloped backwards.[11] According to Desmond Morris, the vertical forehead in humans not only houses larger brains, but the prominent forehead plays an important role in human communication through eyebrow movements and forehead skin wrinkling.[12]

Time of the Hominans

Skulls of the Hominans

Humanity timeline

Main articles: Archaic humans and Homo

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bar:  at:-2000000 color:period3 shift:(-20,7) text:Genus~Homo
bar:   color:period3
from:-200000 till:-1800000
at:-1800000 shift:(0,8) text:H. erectus
at:-1800000 text:H. ergaster
at:-1800000 shift:(0,-24) text:H. georgicus
bar:  color:period3
from:-1400000 till:end  
at:-1400000 shift:(0,-16) text:H. habilis
bar:  color:period3
from:2013 till:-200000 
at:-200000 text:H. sapiens
bar:  color:period3
from:-1200000 shift:(0,4) till:-800000  text:H. antecessor
bar:  color:period3
from:-29000 till:-230000
at:-230000 shift:(0,-10) text:H. neanderthalensis

bar:   color:period3 
from:-230000 till:-600000
at:-600000 shift:(0,5) width:5 text:H. heidelbergensis
bar:Events color:nil mark:(line,black)
at:-77000 shift:(0,5) text:Toba
at:-640000 shift:(0,5) text:3rd Y. Caldera
at:-1300000 shift:(0,5) text:2nd Y. Caldera
bar:Events color:nil mark:(line,white)
from:-13000 till:2013 text:H.~extinction
from:-781000  till:-13000 text:Q.~extinction

Dates approximate, consult articles for details
(From 2000000 BC till 2013 AD in (partial) exponential notation)
See also: Java Man (-1.75e+06), Yuanmou Man (-1.75e+06 : -0.73e+06),
Lantian Man (-1.7e+06), Nanjing Man (- 0.6e+06), Tautavel Man (- 0.5e+06),
Peking Man (- 0.4e+06), Solo Man (- 0.4e+06), and Peştera cu Oase (- 0.378e+05)

Major origin models

Major origin models

As it is usually presented, there are two major competing models on this subject – recent African origin and multiregional evolution. The debate concerns both the relative amount of replacement or interbreeding that occurred in areas outside of Africa, when waves of humans (or human ancestors) left it to colonize other areas, and the relative importance of more recent waves as opposed to more ancient ones.

mtDNA Tree

The mainstream view, known as the "

Historically, critics of this view are often bracketed together as holding a "multiregional hypothesis", which was being studied in the early 1980s into the 2000s.[22] Such critics argue that significant amounts of older non-African genetic lineages have survived in various parts of the world through inter-breeding with anatomically-modern humans.[23] According to versions of the multiregional model the various human populations around the world today will have surviving genetic material that goes back as far as early humans such as Homo erectus. The human evolutionary genetics data set (Jobling, Hurles and Tyler-Smith, 2004) favor the "Out of Africa" model. Analyses of modern Europeans suggest that no mitochondrial DNA (direct maternal line) originating with Neanderthals has survived into modern times.[24][25][26]

However the recent sequencing of the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes shows some admixture. A draft sequence publication by the Neanderthal Genome Project in May 2010 indicates some form of hybridization between archaic humans and modern humans took place after modern humans emerged from Africa. An estimated 1 to 4 percent of the DNA in Europeans and Asians (i.e. French, Chinese and Papua probands) is non-modern, and shared with ancient Neanderthal DNA and not with Sub-Saharan Africans (i.e., Yoruba and San probands),[27] while Melanesians have an additional 1–6% of Denisovan origin.[28]

In practice, controversy is generally about specific periods and specific proposals for periods of such interbreeding. The existence and importance of gene flow out of Africa is generally accepted, while the possibility of isolated instances of inter-breeding between recent sub-Saharan arrivals and their less "modern" contemporaries at various stages of prehistory is not particularly controversial.[29] Nonetheless, and according to recent genetic studies, modern humans seem to have mated with "at least two groups" of ancient humans: Neanderthals and Denisovans.[30]

Early modern humans

The Omo, Herto, Skhul, and Jebel Qafzeh remains are sometimes referred to as "Early Modern Humans" because their skeletal remains exhibit a mix of archaic and modern traits. Skhul V, for example, has prominent brow ridges and a projecting face. However, the brain case of Skhul V is distinct from that of the Neanderthals and is similar to the brain case of modern humans. There are recognized subspecies, for example H. s. sapiens[31] and H.s. idaltu.[32] In Europe, the early modern humans are called by the name "Cro-Magnon".

Grouping Appellations[33]
Subspecies Populations
Humans H. s. sapiens H. sapiens
H. s. idaltu
Neanderthals H. s. neanderthalis H. neanderthalensis
Archaic Humans H. s. heidelbergensis[34][35] H. heidelbergensis
H. s. rhodesiensis H. rhodesiensis
H. s. antecessor[36] H. antecessor
Denisova hominin[37][38][39] (?)

Modern human behavior

There is considerable debate regarding whether the earliest anatomically-modern humans behaved similarly to recent or existing humans. Modern human behaviors characteristic of recent humans includes a language, the capacity for abstract thought and the use of symbolism to express cultural creativity. There are two opposing hypotheses regarding the origins of modern behavior. Some scholars argue that humans achieved anatomical modernity first, around 200 000 years ago. Later, accordingly, did humans adopt modern behaviors around 50 000 years ago. This hypothesis is based on the record of fossils and biogenic substances from periods before 50 000 years ago[40][41] and the human artifacts found after 50 000 years ago.[42] Correspondingly, as stated by Paul Mellars, the view distinguishes anatomically-modern humans from behaviorally-modern humans.[43]

The opposing view is that humans achieved anatomical and behavioral modernity simultaneously.[44] For example, most views argue that humans had evolved a lightly built skeleton.[45] During this transition to anatomical modernity, this could have occurred through increased human cooperation.[46][47] Additionally, this could have occurred through the increased use of technology, traits characteristic of modern behavior.

See also

Fossil, List of fossil sites (fossils of primates, transitional fossils, and human evolution fossils), Paleontology
Genetic evolution
Haplogroups (Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam), Human evolution (Lamarckism, Modern evolutionary synthesis, and Epigenetics)
Genetic history
Africa, Europe, British Isles, Iberian Peninsula, Americas, Italy, North Africa, South Asia
Early human migrations, Coastal migration, Human migration, Historical migration
Paleodemography (Number of humans who have ever lived), Population reconstruction, World population estimates, Sorites paradox
Evolutionary origin of religions, Creation myths, Theistic evolution
Lists and charts
List of countries and islands by first human settlement, Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures

Further reading

Pre-20th- and early 20th-century publications
  • 538 pages.
  • The Descent of Man: And Selection in Relation to Sex, Volume 2. By Charles Darwin
  • Gerald Massey.
  • A Series of Engravings: Representing the Bones of the Human Skeleton. By Edward Mitchell, John Barclay
  • John William Dawson
Contemporary publications
  • Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton. Edited by 680 pages
  • The Origins of Modern Humans: Biology Reconsidered. By 480 pages
  • Ian Tattersall.
  • 673 pages.

References and notes


External links

General information
  • Early And Late “archaic“homo Sapiens And “anatomically : Modern” Homo Sapiens. hawaii.edu.
  • Origins of Modern Humans: Multiregional or Out of Africa? actionbioscience.org
  • homo erectus tool use and adaptation. public.wsu.edu.
  • Early Human Evolution: Early Modern Homo sapiens. palomar.edu.
Museums of Natural History
  • Human Family Tree. si.edu. The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program
  • Meet our early human family. nhm.ac.uk.
  • . mnsu.edu

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