Re: Archaic H. sapiens???

Dan Barnes (
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 16:12:09 GMT

In article <>, says...

>is further complicated by the fact that European archaic H.s.
>specimens have recently been repackaged and put together in a single
>European basket called H. heidelbergensis (type specimen the Mauer jaw,
>or Heidelberg jaw - other famous members of this group are Boxgrove and

I agree about the 'waste paper basket' nature of this clumsy term but Rightmire
(1996) has now included the African archaics in this group (a number of which,
esp. the African Transitional Group (ATG) members like Singa, Irhoud, etc, have
been classed as H.s. in the past) as well. I would also say that Dmanisi
(Gabunia & Vekua, 1995) hominid is definitely H.e. - esp since it is thought to
be at least 1.4 Ma.

>Thus it is no surprise that the anatomical and temporal boundaries of
>"archaic H.s." tend to float about a bit, and that academics differ on
>which specimens should be included with it.

Rightmire (1996) now believes the division between the H.e. and the archaic
H.s. of the Kabwe Group (KG) (early archaics) is sufficient to imply a speciation
event around 600 ka.

>One rule that generally holds
>is that African archaics are simply too late in time to be comfortably
>included in H. erectus (blanket date for these specimens is about 100kya)
>although of course this rule could be revoked by a single find at any

The KG has been dated to 600 to 500 ka (see Rightmire, 1996, again, for the
dates) which would fit well with their exodus from Africa into Europe by 500 to
450 ka (a date that fits well with Turner's 1992 study of the European fauna).
New dates for the ATG (MacDonald et al, n.d. and Grun et al, 1996) show they
existed from c. 250 to >135 ka.


Gabunia, L. & Vekua, A. (1995) A Plio-Pleistocene hominid from Dmanisi, East
Georgia, Caucasus. Nature. 373. 509-12.

Gr€n, R., Brink, J.S., Spooner, N.A., Taylor, L., Stringer, C.B., Fransiscus, R.G.
& Murray, A.S. (1996) Direct dating of Florisabd hominid. Nature. 382 (6591).

McDermott, F., Stringer, C.B., Gr€n, R., Williams, C.T., Din, V.K. &
Hawkesworth, C.J. (n.d.) New Late-Pleistocene Uranium-Thorium and ESR
dates for the Singa hominid (Sudan). Journal of Human Evolution. in press as
far as I'm aware but it may have been printed recently.

Rightmire, G.P. (1996) The human cranium from Bodo, Ethiopia: Evidence for
speciation in the Middle Pleistocene. Journal of Human Evolution. 31. 21-39.

Turner, A. (1992) Large carnivores and earliest European hominds: Changing
determinants of resource availability during the Lower and Middle Pleistocene.
Journal of Human Evolution. 22 (2). 109-26.


PS - problems could occur if the Mauer jaw (the type fossil for H.h.) was found to
be H.e. as was first thought. The whole group would need to be renamed (Homo
Kabwensis ???)