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Vis-ŕ-vis the early anatomically modern Homo sapiens


FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Jul 9, 2007   #1
Hello,

Could you please read my Physical Anthropology essay and give me some feedback?

The prompt is:

Pretend you are an early anatomically modern Homo sapiens (a.k.a. a Cro-Magnon). Please tell me about yourself. You might want to tell me about a typical day in your life. This may be as creative as you would like. No matter what approach you take, make sure you address the following questions however.

- Where do you live?
- What do you eat?
- What time period do you live in?
- What do you look like?
- Do you have any special skills?
- Do you live with others of your kind?
- Do you use and make tools? If so, what kind(s) and what are they used for?
- How do you differ from "people" in the future such as those folks who will be around in 2007?

Thank you in advance.
Frederic

Vis-ŕ-vis the early anatomically modern Homo sapiens: lessons learned from the past

Every summer, scores of vacationers stop at Les Eyzies, a village in Dordogne in southwestern France, with the intent to discover the story of our early anatomically modern Homo sapiens ancestors. To be accurate, the individuals who lived in this area were identified as Cro-Magnons. Although archaeologists unearthed the remains of only eight individuals in 1868, the subsequent analyses of the skeletons and their immediate surroundings in addition to the previous knowledge of early Homo sapiens permitted the anthropologists to partially reconstitute their typical daily life. The skeletons indicated the epoch during which they lived along with their anatomical peculiarities and alimentary habits. The habitat provided insights into their practical and intellectual skills. Now, imagine you are one of the vacationers who spend his or her holidays in France. Imagine you and I are propelled in the past and I metamorphose into an early anatomically modern Homo sapiens, such as a Cro-Magnon individual. I invite you to compare the physical and intellectual facets of our two personalities.

Welcome in the Upper Palaeolithic, which started forty thousand years ago and finished ten thousand years ago. In those days, Homo sapiens materialized into different forms, from Cro-Magnons to Neanderthals. Scientists have deemed I lived about from thirty five thousand years ago to twenty-two years ago. That period has encompassed the Aurignacian, the Gravettian, the Solutrean, and the Magdalenian. Each one of those epochs symbolizes a stage in the evolution of Homo sapiens and its aptitudes. I lived with my band, which was composed of eight individuals, supposedly my family. When we died, we were in our household: a rock shelter. We lived in an area which experienced many climatic changes during the Pleistocene (from one billion eight hundred thousand years ago to eleven thousand fifty hundred and fifty years ago) but which was approximately the same as today, namely an area of sharp hills covered with forests or meadows and which offered many caves.

My silhouette was the same as yours. My means of locomotion was the obligate bipedalism and I walked fully erected. Besides, the proportions of my skeleton were identical to yours. Did I look like a kind of bestial person? Certainly not! For the first time in the Homo evolution, my skull was round, like yours. Furthermore, in opposition to my predecessors, my forehead was vertical and I had relatively small browridges. I had clearly distinctive canine fossa, a definite chin and pyramidal mastoid processes. It might surprise you, but my face was similar to yours. Contrary to the popular belief, I never walked in a simian way and I never bore a resemblance to a mix between you and a monkey! My anatomy was so next to yours that, if I opened my mouth, you could have seen I had a generalized dentition as yours. The ghost of a smile appears on your face: you are asking yourself if I intend to prove I am as clever as you are. The answer is certainly "yes"! My cranial capacity indicated that my brain had a volume ranging from about one thousand two hundred to one thousand four hundred centimetre cubes. Physiologically speaking, it seemed I had the same intellectual capacity as yours. However, although I was equipped to speak, scientists have not been able to discover if I had a complex language because the sound could not be recorded in those days and I have not learnt to write yet. Finally, geneticists have tracked my genetic legacy to you thanks to mtDNA through matrilineages. Indeed, we bequeathed our mitochondrial DNA to our offspring, and consequently, to you, because the mtDNA was not altered by the recombination during the reshuffling of chromosomes when the meiosis happened.

Although our physical and intellectual abilities were identical, my eating pattern was somewhat different. I was a forager, also known as hunter-gatherer. I consumed both flora and fauna species. However, those species were wild because I did not master the art of cultivation and domestication yet. Some of my descendants, during the end of the Upper Palaeolithic, learnt to tame some plants and animals such as the wolves. Nevertheless, as far as I was concerned, my dietary habits included grains and vegetables that were available in this area. Moreover, I was proficient in hunting big games such as aurochs, my contemporaneous bovines. Such a diet has showed I was adept at producing tools for acquiring or processing the products of my gatherings and hunts into edible alimentation. That is why I had a generalized dentition with smaller molars and incisors than my ancestors. Indeed, it was easier for me to masticate initially tough grains that I had crushed thanks to my up-to-date stone "kitchen utensils." In addition, I was able to cut the carcasses resulting from my hunts up with acute stone tools into manageably eating pieces. Consequently, it seems that the twenty first millennium eating patterns have been to a great extent the direct result of my alimentation. Another consequence of those enduring eating patterns is the fact that your anatomy has not significantly evolved since the Upper Palaeolithic period.

My stone tool production was characterised by the fact that my blades were extracted from prepared cores rather than using rough flakes as my ancestors did. Your scientists have revealed that that aptitude pertained to an Upper Palaeolithic stone tool industry, which name is Aurignacian, and that was initiated about forty thousand years ago. That manufacture is typical of my kind. I was able to fabricate cutting tools as some kinds of knife. With those cutting tools, I was capable to carve my meat. In addition, I was proficient in transforming branches into sticks. Besides, I was able to make stone points or heads that I could install on my sticks to create spears and harpoons. With those tools, I was capable of hunting big game in the distance contrary to the Neanderthals who needed to jump onto their preys to kill them. Since I was particularly clever, I even invented a spear-thrower to propel my spears towards secluded animals. Some of your anthropologists might venture to say I made bows and arrows. Now, you can understand how I have obtained my food supplies and my subsequent generalized dentition. My descendants and I have established the bases for your cultural expansion.

Although my anatomy and subsistence pattern were extraordinary well developed, the most surprising facets of my life lied elsewhere. First, I was clever at converting the hides of my preys into somewhat tailored clothes for I was capable to shape the pelts with my cutting tools and for it has seemed I could make needles. Besides, my intelligence and my dexterity led me to recuperate deer antlers and mammoth ivory tusks to engrave them with adroit adornments. As regards body ornamentations, I produced diverse jewels such as beads for necklaces as well. However, my most magnificent decorations were "Venus figure," which were portrayed with an amazing realism, and figurines that apparently represented fertility supernatural beings, for their feminine traits were exaggeratedly pronounced. Furthermore, I had mastered the knack for producing pigments from natural materials. Thus, I used those colours to paint decorations on the walls of my cave. I mainly depicted the animals I encountered during my hunts with simplicity but outstanding resemblance, such as bears, aurochs, and rhinoceroses. Finally, although it was not my case in Les Eyzies, we buried our death with elaborate items in their graves. Your third millennium cultures have, to a large extent, benefited from our cultural development.

Finally, you have certainly noticed that your prejudice about my congeners and me, the early anatomically modern Homo sapiens like Cro-Magnon, has evaporated. Thanks to our acquaintance, you have observed that I was physically identical to you. In no way have I been a kind of brutish primate far from looking like you. Since our differences have not lied in biological points, they have been in our cultures. The epoch in which I lived in, the Upper Palaeolithic, has been a period of astonishing innovations and realizations in both technology and arts. I have been engaged in a stage of creation of innovative and multifarious tools that have been the most apparent components of our cultural evolution. Early anatomically modern Homo sapiens have elaborated multifaceted techniques and methods that have been the proof of great-intellectualised activities. Moreover, arts and traditions have demonstrated our cerebral aptitude for reflection. They have also highlighted our refinement of our symbolic representations. The corner stone of the comprehension of our epoch have resided in your ability to appreciate the value of our cultural development. The amazing development of our species, in a relatively short period of time proportionate to our predecessors, and its prevention from extinction until your twenty first millennium have revealed the barely credible aptitude of the Homo sapiens individuals to adapt in its ecosystems to protract its survival.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jul 10, 2007   #2
Greetings!

A remarkable and interesting paper! You've done a marvelous job; I have just a few editing suggestions for you:

Now, imagine you are one of the vacationers who spends his or her holidays in France.

Scientists have deemed I lived about from thirty five thousand years ago to twenty-two [should this be "thousand"?] years ago.

I lived with my band, which was composed of eight individuals, supposedly my family. - "supposedly" is not really a good term here; who is doing the supposing?

Pleistocene (from one billion eight hundred thousand years ago to eleven thousand five hundred and fifty years ago)

My means of locomotion was the obligate bipedalism and I walked fully erect.

My anatomy was so next to yours that, if I opened my mouth, you could have seen I had a generalized dentition like yours.

sound could not be recorded in those days and I had not learnt to write yet.

those species were wild because I hadnot mastered the art of cultivation and domestication yet.

I was proficient in hunting big game

I was able to cut up the carcasses resulting from my hunts with acute stone tools into pieces which were a manageable size for eating.

that aptitude pertained to an Upper Palaeolithic stone tool industry, called Aurignacian,

I was capable of carving my meat

Although my anatomy and subsistence pattern were extraordinarily well developed, the most surprising facets of my life lay elsewhere.

First, I was clever at converting the hides of my prey into somewhat tailored clothes for I was able to shape the pelts with my cutting tools and for it has seemed I could make needles.

Besides, my intelligence and my dexterity led me to recoup deer antlers and mammoth ivory tusks to engrave them with adroit? adornments. - I don't think "adroit" is the word you want here; the person who makes them can be adroit, but the adornments themselves cannot be.

"Venus figures," which were portrayed with an amazing realism, and figurines that apparently represented supernatural fertility beings, for their feminine traits were exaggeratedly pronounced.

we buried our dead with elaborate items in their graves.

Since our differences have not lain in biological points, they have been in our cultures.

The epoch in which I lived [delete "in"], the Upper Palaeolithic

great-intellectualised activities. - not sure, but I think you meant "greatly"?

The corner stone of the comprehension of our epoch has resided in your ability to appreciate

its prevention from extinction up to your twenty first millennium

Good work!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com


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