Re: Adaptive Niche of Archaic Humans

J. Moore (
Fri, 9 Jun 95 18:07:00 -0500

Na> I was wondering if the paleontological record is complete enough to
Na> either support or falsify the hypothesis that H. erectus and archaic
Na> H. sapiens had a genetically determined adaptive niche. Obviously they
Na> were hunter-gatherers, but were they, in contradistinction to modern
Na> humans, *obligate* hunter-gatherers?

You mean, is that *all* they *could* do? I don't think we have any real
way of telling that, since even much later humans, who are considered to
be indisputably *us* (*Homo sapiens sapiens*) *only* gathered and
hunted. So I don't see how you'd test this idea that earlier types
were incapable of activities that even later types didn't pick up for
tens of thousands of years. Mind you, it seems likely, but how would
you tell?

Na> It appears, from the evidence I have seen,
Na> that their stone-tool technologies remained essentially unchanged for
Na> thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years. Does this indicate
Na> that the entire way of life was equally unchanging and that archaics
Na> were incapable of making major cultural innovations?


Na> moderns constitute a new species of human with a markedly enhanced
Na> ability to innovate and to create variations in way of life. This
Na> enhanced ability apparently enabled groups of modern humans to penetrate
Na> and occupy a greater range of habitat types than could any group of
Na> archaics, though ostensibly they were living much in the same way as had
Na> all the archaics before them. That's my impression anyway. Would anyone
Na> care to comment?

This seems to have been what's been happening at stages throughout human

Jim Moore (

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