Re: Archaic H. sapiens???

MSCob (
16 Jan 1997 15:32:20 GMT

Michael McBroom wrote:

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.

Michael, I believe that Lieberman's reconstructions of the soft
tissue of ancient skulls have been rejected by most physical
anthropologists from the time they were first published. I do not know
the details; perhaps you should check with a physical anthropologist. I
have the impression that Lieberman, a well-known phoneticist, continued to
publicize his claims, and his linguistic reputation gave weight to his
physical anthropology work in the eyes of publishers and general readers.
Mary Coberly