World Prehistory: An Introduction
1. Archeology: One of the four fields of Anthropology, Archeology in anthropology is the study of past human behavior based on surviving material finds, Archeologists reconstruct what people did from the materials they left behind. Archeology is the only discipline that provides long term records of culture changes.
● Note: material - what people leave behind
● Note: behavior - what people do
2. Uniformitarianism is defined as the same processes that operate now have always operated and occur at the same rate - the present is the key to the past (based on scottish geologist James Hutton), uniformitarianism contrasts with catastrophism and punctuated-equilibrium.
3. Hawkes Ladder of Inference: The idea that with each step we lose certainty of facts, from material records (the observed phenomena), to formation processes (how material was deposited), to modes of production (how people made a living), to social/political institutions (how people relate to one another), to Ideology/religion/spirituality (what people thought and their beliefs
4. Formation Processes: how material is deposited (also part of Hawkes Ladder of Inference)
5. Culture: Ecological version - outcome of dynamic interactions between frequency dependant behavior and the the environment (interactions between people and environment). Standard version - a society's traditional systems of belief and behavior, as underlying by individuals.
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6. Invention, Diffusion, & Migration: Cultural History (a type/branch of archeological thought) reconstructs cultural sequences by studying invention, diffusion and migration from materials left behind to provide explanations for changes. We also discuss several other topics like Tangible products that individual consumers purchase for personal or family use.
7. Evolutionary Ecology: Post Processual (a type/brand of archeological thought) interprets past social relations and beliefs, they study culture as an adaptation, specifically unilinear and multilinear evolution, and evolutionary ecology which is behavioral adaptations, from materials left behind to provide explanations for changes. If you want to learn more check out Heredity and genetic traits determine a person’s behavior.
8. 3NS4NS: (3 necessary and sufficient conditions for natural selection) - Phenotypic variation (example. Darwin's finches and beaks)
- Heritability (genetic and environmental)
- Differential survivorship in response to scarcity as a result of a phenotypic trait (superfecundity) If you want to learn more check out What is extravasation?
9. Speciation: the formation of new species in the course of evolution
10. Adaptive Radiation: (phenotypic variation) The evolutionary diversification of a species or single ancestral lineage into various forms that are each adaptively specialized to a specific environmental niche
11. Forms of phenotypic variation:
- Directional Selection: selection against an extreme
- Stabilizing Selection: selection against both extremes
- Disruptive Selection: selection against the average
12. Biological Species: basic unit of biological classification defined as the largest group of individual organisms capable of interbreeding and producing viable offspring 13. Fossil Species: basic unit of taxonomic classification used by paleontologists, paleoanthropologists and archeologists to denote morphologically distinct species identified by their fossil remains (problem - how do we know if the morphology of a fossil species is distinct? consider variation driven by age and sex) Don't forget about the age old question of When was electronic began?
14. Hominin: the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors (hominid is a more broad definition and includes all modern and extinct great apes) We also discuss several other topics like What are the steps in the legislative process in texas?
15. Dating the Past:
- Relative Dating: the processes and methods associated with determining the age of some series of strata or objects relative to one another (example. Stratigraphy and the law of superposition - layers deeper in the earth are older)
- Absolute Dating: the processes and methods associated with determining the calendar age of an object or strata (example. K-Ar Dating)
16. Law of Superposition: type of relative dating, layers/strata deeper in the earth are older 17. K-Ar Dating: a type of absolute dating that can only be used to test volcanic rock, this dating method is based upon the decay of radioactive potassium-40 to radioactive argon-40 in minerals and rocks
18. Miocene: the oldest epoch (28.3-5.3 mya) when grasslands expanded at the expense of forests likely driving the radiation of ape species
19. Pliocene: epoch after the miocene (5.3-2.6 mya) when great seasonality marked the divergence of the chimp
20. Pleistocene: epoch after the pliocene (2.6 mya -11.7 kya), sometimes referred to as the “ice age,” the pleistocene is characterized by alternating cold and warm periods known as glacial and interglacial periods, our genus (homo) and species (h. sapiens) emerged during the period of fluctuating climate
21. Holocene: current epoch, interglacial period during which climate stabilized and human populations rapidly expanded
22. Dental Apes: name for earliest hominids, its hominoid apes that had teeth like modern apes but a skeleton shaped like ancestral monkeys, lived during miocene 23. Bipedal: walking upright on two legs, a defining characteristics of the genus Homo brought from australopiths
24. Australopithecus spp.: extinct genus of hominins, cranial capacity 400-500cc, low forehead with brow ridges, midfacial prognathism, flat nose, no chin, human like teeth (small molars), smaller than modern human, habitual bipeds (walk upright all the time), LUCY is the most famous example
25. Midfacial prognathism: forward/bulging jaw
26. Savanna Hypothesis: a hypothesis for bipedality, the pliocene was drying and cooling opened up forests creating a savanna landscape. Resources then became patchily distributed across space and resources within specific forest patches would quickly
become scarce. Some individuals may have been better able to walk upright than others and because bipedal locomotion is the most efficient way to travel long distances, these individuals could travel to new patches at lower costs and would be more likely to survive and reproduce, passing this trait onto their descendants (natural selection)
27. Laetoli: a site in Tanzania near Olduvai Gorge, dated to the Pleistocene and famous for its hominin footprints preserved in volcanic ash which were discovered by Mary Leakey 1976. Provided evidence for the theory of bipedalism in Pliocene hominins.
28. Sexual Dimorphism: condition where two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs (typically size) 29. Robust Australopithecus: Had big cheeks, split off from modern human lineage (extinct), had a specialized diet and morphological adaptations (compared to early homo’s generalized diet and behavioral adaptations)
30. Olduvai Gorge: In tanzania, internationally recognized for Louis and Mary Leakey’s discoveries of early humans, documenting the evolutionary history of our stone tool-using ancestors, vertebrate fauna, and Laetoli footprints (bipedality). First place where traces of an early stone tool culture were discovered, and gave the name to the Oldowan, now considered earliest human technology. Olduvai is also one of the first sites in Africa where the earliest Acheulean was first discovered, and where the traditional view of the Oldowan-Acheulean transition was established.
31. “Provisioning Ape” Hypothesis: Lovejoy’s Love Story is a hypothesis for the emergence of the genus homo. Environment produces patchy resources, spatially distinct foraging locales by sex, females remain close to home bases, males provision females at home bases, monogamy and nuclear families
32. “Scavenging Ape” Hypothesis: O’Connells competitive scavenging apes is considered a counter argument hypothesis to love story/provisioning apes for the emergence of genus homo. Environmental change increased scavenging opportunities, increased body size → increased competitive edge, encourages tool use, cognitive problem solving, etc. Mixed sex groups gather at new kill sites, not home bases (counter argues love story). Evidence: bones represent nearly complete animal and cut marks over tooth marks
33. Grandmother Hypothesis: Hawke’s grandmaternal apes hypothesis for the emergence of genus homo. Changes to cooler, drier climates reduced available foods, foraging shifted to locally available foods, grandmothers who helped feed grand-offspring had daughters who weaned earlier (shorter IBI’s aka time between offspring), selective
advantage to inter-generational age. Benefits of post-menopausal lifespans leads to fixation: longer life spans and slower life histories.
34. “Cooking Ape” Hypothesis: Wraghams catching fire and cooking meat hypothesis for emergence of genus homo. Fire increased nutrients available in food, can be used to stay warm and ward off predators, those able to use fire for cooking would have profound selective advantage, modern humans cannot survive on exclusively raw foods (has been experimented), explains smaller gut and molars, increased brain size and social adeptness.
35. “Adaptive Ape” Hypothesis: Potts diverse, fluid and flexible foraging for the emergence of genus homo. Increased interannual (differences from year to year) and seasonal climatic variability (differences between seasons), higher selective benefits for individuals who could deal with variability, results in physiologically and mentally flexible species, able to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Adaptation moves from genetic change to phenotypic change.
36. Turkana Boy: Archaic human in africa (Nariokotome), his morphology suggested H.ergaster matured faster than modern human
37. Out of Africa I: Fire and stone tools helped archaic humans to leave africa. Tool traditions like oldowan (oldest) split into the acheulean handaxe and zhoukoudian chopper.
38. Non-Human Tool Use: chimps use stone to crack nuts, stick to “fish” for termites and collect water, and “spears” to hunt bush babies, Wild macaques use rocks to break open shellfish, and other old world monkeys use tools in captivity, New world monkeys use rocks to dig for resources in a scarce environment. All of this suggests deeper origins for the capacity to use tools.
39. Oldowan Tools: oldest and most simple tool tradition used by archaic humans. 40. Acheulean Hand Axe: specific bifacial, symmetrical tool made from a prepared core by archaic humans, the transition from oldowan to acheulean tools represents a greater understanding of the properties of stone, the production of tools with greater cutting edge and the development of bifacial flake-core industries. Largest amount of Acheulean handaxes found in silt surface at Quarry at Boxgrove, UK (ca. 500 kya). 41. Zhoukoudian Choppers: Dates more recent than acheulean tools. Archaic humans were beginning to manufacture simple stone tools, the Zhoukadian chopper, to create wood and bamboo tools. People beginning to adapt/manufacture according to their environment and what’s available to them.
42. Dmanisi: Some of the first europeans, archaic human at Dmanisi, Georgia (ca. 1.7 mya) 43. Schoningen: Site in germany, best known for the earliest known completely preserved wooden spear findings that have changed the long-accepted idea of a more primitive early human hunting culture during this time period that featured primarily stone tools and weapons.
44. Archaic Humans in East Asia: Out of Africa I, H.Erectus, an archaic human, breaks from off from the modern human lineage (1.6-0.1 mya). Peking Man” from Zhoukadian had larger than expected brain size (750-1300 cc), closer to modern human and were manufacturing simple stone tools (Zhoukadian chopper) to create wood and bamboo
tools. People beginning to adapt/manufacture according to their environment and what’s available to them
- Morphology - Stocky silhouette: broad trunks, wide hips, shorter distal limbs, no chin, long face mounted in front of the brain case, long and low braincase, juxtamastoid crest. - Technology - Levallois Flaking, most sophisticated prepared core technology found from that time in history
- Subsistence - open and forested habitats, eating simple plants (plants that need little care and easily/readily available), eating mammals, birds, some fish and shellfish, overall specialization in large mammal hunting, solitary or communal hunters? (evidence for communal hunters - large mammal hunting would be difficult alone), close contact hunting ? (many neanderthal remains have injuries similar to rodeo injuries today), small home range? (toolstones rarely more than 20 km away), cannibalism? (when desperate because of scarce resources - more rare)
- Rituals: flexed burials on side common, grave goods for men and women (more for men - does this show gender equality?), flower pollen found with grave sites - likely they practiced burying people with flowers, evidence they cared for their elderly, isolated skulls and cave bear remains (did they worship cave bears religiously?) evidence they used caves intermittently and bears used caves in between.
46. Levallois technique: A neanderthal technology, Levallois Flaking, most sophisticated prepared core technology found from that time in history
47. AMHSS: Anatomically modern homo sapiens - physiological change. 48. BMHSS: Behaviorally modern homo sapiens - behavioral change. - Increased ecological impacts - Behaviorally modern humans with large populations are
negatively affecting the environment (example. Decreased average shellfish size) - Diverse tool production
- Art production accelerates - increase in complexity and abundance - Population density increases - increased density of archeological sites and increased growth rate
49. Gradualism vs punctuated equilibrium:
- Gradualism - gradual change of morphology over time
- Punctuated - same amount of change in morphology over same amount of time but there are periods of stasis (no change followed by drastic change)
50. The Human Spark: Hypothesis for emergence of BMHSS, natural selection reduces variation, mutation introduces variation, any mutation that provides selective benefits should spread through a population, a mutation that increased neural capacity (memory or language) would lead to increased innovation
- Only hypothesis on genetic change
- Behavioral changes not accounted by brain size alone: did some mutation change the organization or shape of the brain?
- A punctuated equilibrium hypothesis
51. Accelerated Cultural Evolution: Hypothesis for emergence of BMHSS, information is adaptive (especially true in variable environment - Individual learning (innovation): costly vs Social learning (diffusion): cheap), innovators are only a small portion of the population, larger population = more innovators, larger population should have more cumulative info
- A gradual equilibrium hypothesis
52. Resource Intensification: Hypothesis for emergence of BMHSS. Intensification means working harder to get more resources out of the same area (more food, more people, higher cost). Populations are structured by resource availability, dense populations place a burden on local resources, individuals must intensify work effort to sustain population, this inadvertently increases local carrying capacity and allows population to grow which ultimately encourages innovation to reduce work effort.
- Both a punctuated (archaeologically) and gradual (the process) hypothesis