Re: Archaic H. sapiens???

3 Jan 1997 14:12:22 GMT

Michael McBroom ( wrote:
: Al Curtis wrote:
: > I asked this question in a recent post but got no responses. Just what
: > distinguishes archaic H. sapiens from H. erectus (besides brain size)
: > and were they actually slightly more evolved H. erecti? Who decided
: > that they were in fact sapiens? The term "archaic" H. sapiens seems
: > rather vague to me. Thanks in advance

: Until recently, I'd had the same questions. As other responses to your
: question will show, archaic H.s. are generally grouped into a catch-all
: category because they don't quite fit anywhere else.

: I'm a student of linguistics whose specialty is the biological origins
: of language. Recently, in my research, I came across some information
: that casts a new light (to me, at least -- the information is not new)
: on at least some of the archaic specimens. While the exterior
: appearance to an archaic skull may resemble a large-brained H erectus in
: some ways, or a Neanderthal without the protruding face in others, the
: most telling difference is in an area that is not so obvious: the
: basicranial area. Reconstructions of the vocal tract done by Philip
: Lieberman (see his book, _On the Origins of Language_, 1975 -- a little
: old, but still one of the best resources on the subject) indicate that
: some archaic specimens had vocal tracts that were essentially modern in
: appearance, in sharp contrast to the vocal tracts of H.e. and
: Neanderthal. This characteristic is highly significant, since it is
: most likely an indicator of the beginnings of true, full-blown language
: in the genus. When looked at from that perspective, these specimens are
: entirely deserving of their H.s. categorization. IMHO.

I believe the hyoid of H. neand. has been found and is entirely modern in

It can be argued that H. erectus's adaptation to the savannah environment
suggests that H. erectus was capable of vocal representations (primitive
language) used in long-distance communication to share information on
threats and resources within the group.

Harry Erwin, Internet:, Web Page:
49 year old PhD student in computational neuroscience ("how bats do it" 8)
and lecturer for CS 211 (data structures and advanced C++)