Re: archaic Homo sapiens?

Royden Yates (
Thu, 9 Mar 1995 21:42:07 GMT

In article <> William Stoltzfus <> writes:

>Does anyone know of recent scientific lit on linkage between Neandertal
>and "archaic Homo sapiens"? Seems very murky: erectus-archaic
>Homo-Neandertal? Heidelbergensis-archaic Homo-Neandertal?

No help on the lit.
So far as I know, the first is essentially correct, for Europe that is.
Heidelbergensis is now considered archaic.

> What is the
>fossil basis for archaic Homo sapiens outside Africa between 500,000 and
>100,000 BP that S.J. Gould mentions in a New York Review of Books article
>on books by Stringer/Gamble and Trinkaus/Shipman (10/20/94, p.25)? I
>don't have immediate access to either book.

A site in Spain called Atapuerca, one in France called Arago, Mauer
(Heidelberg, Germany), Verteszollos (?Hungary my geogs bad tonight), Fontana
(Italy), Petralona (Greece), Boxgrove (UK) and Yunxian (China) have all
produced specimens claimed as early archaic Homo saps. Some are argued to be
H. erectus, but hey, this is palaeoanthroplogy so one lives with that. For
my money Atapuerca has to be the gem of them all. Good article in Nature
(1993/4), the quantity and quality of the remains is staggering, and the
circumstances of their deposition quite unusual.

>I gather the oldest Neandertal fossil is in Israel, circa 120,000 BP. No
>known Neandertal skeletons in Africa? Doesn't sound like Noah's Arkers
>would buy into the terminology "archaic Homo sapiens", since it seems
>to mess with their separate migrations for erectus and modern H.
>sapiens, and separate species status for Neandertal. I'd appreciate being
>straightened out here. Regards, Bill.

Which is oldest is a matter of definition. A partial skull from
Biache-Saint-Vaast in France is smaller in cranial capacity than most
Neanderthals but is distinctly like them in morphology. It has an attributed
date of 190 000 to 150 000 BP. The oldest Neanderthals of classic form are
reputedly from Ehringsdorf in Germany and Saccopastore in Italy c. 130/110 000
BP but, typically, there is uncertainty - there are some much older dates in
the Biache range. Seems though that 120 000 BP is the safe bet.

And no, we no longer hold any of the Sub-Saharan materials as Neanderthal.
They are now part of the archaic mob. Apparently the north African stuff is
also out.

Out of my depth for the rest. Nonetheless :), if European archaics developed
into Neanders, the African lot into early anatomically mods then there is
no problem. The label archaic H.s iis probably a pretty loose one, covering
diverse genetic pools or populations.