Re: Archaic H. sapiens???

Dan Barnes (
Mon, 13 Jan 1997 18:14:42 GMT

In article <>, says...
>In his book _The Last Neanderthal_, Ian Tattersall cites the 1978 study
>done by Albert Santa Luca, which was undertaken to determine
>osteological characteristics that were unique to Neanderthal. Are you
>familiar with this study? Santa Luca found four cranial areas that were
>unique to Neanderthal: the Supramastoid tuberosity, the Juxtamastoid
>crest, the Suprainiac depression, and the Occipital torus. This study
>is almost 20 years old now, and I'm curious if it has withstood the test
>of time. I suspect it has, though, or else Tattersall would not have
>spent better than a page on it in his 1995 book.
The ref is:

Santa Luca, A.P. (1978) A re-examination of presumed Neandertal-like fossils.
Journal of Human Evolution. 7. 619-36.

And a similar study was done by Hublin:

Hublin, J.-J. (1978) Quelques caract€res apaomorphes du cr€ne
N€anderthalien et leur interpr€tation phlog€nique. Comptes-Rendus de
l€Acad€mie des Sciences de Paris. Series D. 287. 932-6.

The studies has been criticised esp. in:

Frayer, D.W. (1992) Evolution at the European edge: Neanderthal and Upper
Paleolithic relationships. Prehistoire Europ€ene. 2. 9-69.

Where he shows the numbers of hominids displaying Santa Luca's reported N
characteristics. He also reports in:

Frayer, D.W. (1986) Cranial variation at Mladec and the relationship between
Mousterian and Upper Paleolithic hominids. Anthropos (Brno). 23. 243-56

That .

What worries me is that when you look at the definitions given by Santa Luca
and Hublin they are very specific and detailed and the features reported are not
defined by these strict definitions. I know the Mladec 6 feature (I think its part of
the mastoid) is nearly the same as Hublin's description but not quite and is not
found on the other side of the cranium (Frayer, 1986 - I think but this is only from
memory). Mladec 1 and 6 (AMHs) are believed to have supraniac fossas
(according to Caspari's 1991 PhD dissertation - although I've seen nothing

I have just found Frayer (1992) and tables 4 and 5 deal with the presence of the
suprainiac fossa (S.F.) and the mastoid tubercule (M.T.) , respectively. The
percentages quoted (with sample size) are:

S.F. M.T.

Ns 95.7 (23) 34.8 (8)
Skhul/Qafzeh 28.6 (2) 40.0 (2)
Early UP 38.5 (10) 20.0 (5)
Late UP 23.7 (9) 0
Mesolithic 19.3 (31) 0
Medieval Hungarians5.9 (14) ----------
Modern French 2.0 (2) ----------

However, my problems over the strict definition of the features continues. It
should be noted that Frayer missed the S.F. of Mladec 1 and 6 when he first
examined the skulls.

>It seems to me that, if Santa Luca's 4 characteristics of Neanderthal
>are correct, and if gene-exchange ocurred between Neanderthal and AMHs,
>or if AMHs were descendents of Neanderthal, that we should see some
>indications of one or more of these four characteristics in AMHs. But
>apparently we don't. This seems to argue quite strongly that, not only
>are we separate species, but that no interbreeding ocurred (or if it
>did, no significant population of viable offspring resulted from it).

Better and more recent studies that have impressed me are the radiography of
the teeth done by Zilberman and others as well as the CT scans of the inner ear
done by Spoor and others. These seem to show a considerable difference in
parts of the N anatomy which combined with genetic data seem to indicate
some kind of speciation event.

SNIP - in the interests of space.

>specimen that they analyzed which exhibited this high degree of flexure
>was the Kabwe skull. Tattersall suggests a date of "150 kyr-plus" for
>this specimen. I'm wondering, are we not sure of a more precise date
>for Kabwe than this?

If you check out Rightmire's 1996 paper in the JHE he gives dates for the
Kabwe Group as late as 600 ka:

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

This would be consistent with a speciation event and radiation of H.h. from
Africa by 500 ka. I have given a longer answer elsewhere about the implications
of this on the arrival of the Acheulean in Europe and the presence of more
African fauna around 500 ka. It would also allow enough time for a further
speciation in Europe c. 200 ka and one in Africa c. 150 ka.

>I ask because Tattersall also uses a drawing of the Kabwe skull for H.
>heidelbergensis in his cladograms. Now, if Kabwe is only 150ky old, and
>if Kabwe is indeed representative of H. heidelbergensis, this would seem
>to argue for H. neanderthal having arisen from another form of Homo that
>would have been a predecessor to both. If Kabwe is older than that --
>predating H. neanderthal perhaps, then this would seem to argue even
>more strongly for H. neanderthal having arisen from an ancestor common
>to both species. I base this on the evidence that H. neanderthal's
>basicranial area is more reminiscent of H. erectus' (or H. ergaster's,
>if you prefer). So, if we may assume that Lieberman and Laitman are
>correct in their views that the basicranial area is indicative of
>supralaryngeal morphology (and I believe that they are), then it would
>appear that either H. neanderthal evolved away from the development of a
>vocal tract capable of articulate speech to a more simple model, or that
>H. neanderthal's lineage branched off from the H. erectus/ergaster line
>prior to the emergence of H. hiedelbergensis as evinced by the Kabwe
It would seem the dates for the KG would allow this speciation to occur. There
are varying views on the European 'pre-N' hominids but if an early KG arrived in
Europe it could have retained a number of erectus/ergaster features that were
gradually lost by the African Transitional Group before the became AMHs. A
possibillity but such hominids as Steinheim and Swanscombe would appear to
have few erectus retentions.

Anyway this message is getting long so I'll stop rambling here.