from Tribes to Empires

7.3 Homo Habilis

Two million years ago, the chimp-sized brains of the early australopithecines almost doubled in a growth spurt. Homo habilis is characterized by a progressive reduction of the dental and facial apparatus and by the development of cranial capacities that led … Continue reading

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7.4 Homo Erectus

Homo erectus, the Pithecantrop, originated in Africa. Remains dating 1.8 million years, together with simple “Oldowan” stone tools, have been found in Tanzania (Olduvai Gorge). In Kenya (Turkana), a date of 1.9 million is plausible. This early species of H. … Continue reading

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7.5 Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis

The refined Levalloisian culture that had appeared 150,000 years ago during the Riss glaciation (see fig. 7.6) was adopted and continued in the Near East and Europe by men appearing 100,000 years ago, during the Riss-Wurm interglaciary. Figure 7.6. Time … Continue reading

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7.6 Homo Sapiens Sapiens

There is nothing disproportionate about the frontal lobe in humans. Humans do have larger brains for their bodies than other primates but no particular section of the brain is swollen. All parts of the brain, except the cerebellum, scale up … Continue reading

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7.7 The expansion

7.7.1 Away from tropical lands Bony fishes synthesize vitamin D, which controls the uptake of calcium needed to build up bones. This synthesis is essential to avoid rickets. In amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, vitamin D is formed through exposure … Continue reading

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7.8 The biochemical basis of hominisation

For a long time, the paradigm of protein synthesis was: “one gene –one messenger RNA-one protein”. This concept was acquired by the study of prokaryotes, essentially Escherischia coli, a microbe colonizing the human intestinal tract. The discovery in 2001 that … Continue reading

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7.9 The Noosphere

Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit paleo-anthropologist, observed30 that we are so much immersed in the human phenomenon that during the whole of the 19th century, and most of the 20th, this phenomenon escaped scientific investigation. According to him, man is … Continue reading

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8.0 Introduction

Most scientific communities, ranging from archaeology to botany to molecular biology, grant an extraordinary importance to the study of agricultural origins because food surpluses made possible by agriculture have fueled major cultural developments, culminating in the emergence of urban societies … Continue reading

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8.1 Southeast Asia

The Mousterian culture developed by the Neanderthals was known in Southeast Asia but always remained at a poor level of craftsmanship. Forty thousand years ago, a “Lignic Period» characterized by the abandonment of stone tools and the use of wooden … Continue reading

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8.2 America

A research team led by T. Dillehay from the University of Kentucky discovered stone tools and cut wood in Monte Verde (Chile) 4 about 12,500 years before present (BP). Dillehay has clues but no certainty of human presence, at the … Continue reading

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