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Humankind Emerging by Bernard G. Campbell

Humankind Emerging

by Bernard G. Campbell

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Good paleo or physical anthropology text, drawn from revenant materials recovered from ancestor sites.



First identified near Dusseldorf where a tributary of the Rhine flows through a steep-sided gorge known as the Neander Valley [294]. In 1856, the flanks of the gorge were quarried for limestone, and workmen blasted open a small cave. The owner of the quarry presented the skeletal remains of what turned out to be a most extraordinary man. When Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, it renewed interest in such finds.

By 1908 a magnificent series of N fossils and stone implements was discovered in the Dordogne region of southwestern France. The "old man" of La Chapelle-aux-Saint shows loss of many teeth during his life. He was 5 feet tall, bent by arthritis, and with a cranial capacity of 1600 cc, exceeding the modern average of 1330 cc.[298] N is now considered homo sapien [306], perhaps a subspecies of an extremely variable creature.

Wide distribution and variability is suggested from the skulls of Neanderthals recovered from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and in abundance, in Europe [310]. The time span is 70,000 to 35,000 BP [303, 310].

In small bands, they cook meat on hot stones, grind nuts and grains, crack bone open, hunt with spears and clubs, prepare hides, and live to be 45 years [338]. They bury the dead with flowers and ocher.

The Yukaghir hunter-gatherers of the Siberian taiga and tundra provide a living model of life in an extreme habitat conquered by Neanderthal.

HANDEDNESS. In the animal kingdom, only humans favor one hand/foot over the other. [345] The direction of microscopic scratches on the teeth of Neanderthals is one indication they were right-handed. Injuries were more common on the left side. [355]. This is significant because there is some neurological evidence that handedness is related to the development of language. The pharynx of Neanderthal is more developed than that of the pithecines, but is not modern.

ART. The earliest known lithic artifact of artistic or symbolic decoration is a light engraving on a small stone from a Mousterian site at Tata in Hungary dated 50,000 BP. [349] It is an engraved X, or cross. The artifact was not flaked or known to have a utility.

FLOWERS. The Shanidar cave is still used today by Kurdish shepherds wintering themselves and their herds. Nine Neanderthal skeletons have been excavated from it. [352] At the back of the cave, in a layer dated 60,000 years ago, is a grave of a man with a badly crushed skull. Pollen is present in abundance. He was laid to rest on a woven bed of pine needles and masses of flowers--hyacinth, bachelor's button, hollyhock, and groundsel, all of which are still used as poultices in Iraq. [354]

HOME BASE. Homo erectus is unique among primates for developing a permanent home base. No other primate society has more than a customary "range". Like dogs have dens, erectus developed a home hearth-- the 22 foot layer of ashes in Choukoutien show it was not merely a temporary home, but a continuous and permanent base. [269]

Robert Ardrey hypothesized that a person will instinctively guard whatever territory he regards as his own. [269] Konrad Lorenz argued that this innate drive will inevitably express itself, destructively. [270] {Compare the driving habits of Ute youths.} Most ethnologists today disagree. Aggressive instincts can be shaped. The Kung! bushmen of the Kalahari are generous and hospitable. {The author cites the "Tasaday", a fictitious tribe.} Most of us are pacific, even to a fault.


Peking Man and Java Man were cannibals. Among the fossils at Choukoutien, charred human bones and smashed skulls were found. [270] The sites of homo erectus are abattoirs for butchering and eating virtually any edible animal. Neanderthals ate down to the marrow of other Neanderthals -- about 20 mutilated individuals were found at the Krapina site in Yugoslavia. [355] At the cave of Hortus in France, charred and shattered bones of humans were mixed with other animal bones, as if no distinction was made between human meat and bison. [355] {Compare recent Maori and Jivaro diet; Pacahuara omnivore diet includes simian red howlers.}

Female figures - Cro-Magnon sites.

Many small sculptures have been found, mostly from Upper Perigordian period across a wide area from Asia to Europe, from 25,000 to 20,000 years ago when it was extremely cold in those areas. These artifacts include the heads of animals. But the most common figures found are the human females -- the "Venus" bodies. The book makes these points:

>> The Venuses outnumber all other sculptures.

>> Unlike the animal forms/heads, these are not "naturalistic" depictions; they are highly abstracted and artistic, even surreal.

>> Unlike the animals, which are often heads only, the Venus emphasizes the body, and the female characteristics of the body: Greatly exaggerated breasts, buttocks and belly, perhaps gravid.

>> There are almost no male figures. No kings, no warriors.

>> Unlike the cave art, the Venus figures are not just found in uninhabited caves. They are often found along the main wall or under the hearth of a dwelling. This indicates use in daily life.

>> They appear as people begin to establish "homes" or permanent settlements. The home becomes important and it is regarded as the prerogative of the female. [312]

>> During this period, in some areas, the population increased by unprecedented amounts, some as much as ten times.

By 10,000 BC, Cro-Magnon peoples had "set the stage for the last steps in the emergence of humankind: agriculture, domestication of animals, metalworking, complex forms of social and political life, writing, and perhaps even war." [415]

Curiously, there is no evidence of war until the making of Venuses had completely stopped.
1 vote keylawk | Jul 3, 2010 |
This book provided most of the information I needed to get a good grade in the Physical Anthropology couse I took. It's been a useful resource after the class, for whatever reason. Like many science textbooks, the prose is dry and difficult to read even with an interest in the subject. I did like the suggested readings and internet links at the end of every chapter. ( )
  killermuffin | Jul 15, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0321022742, Paperback)

An impressive revision that updates the content, improves the graphics, adds significant new material, and addresses contemporary concerns and the relationship of the book's subject matter to ongoing issues in everyday life. Of all editions of the book, the eighth is clearly a superior, comprehensive introduction to physical anthropology. It retains, and incrementally improves, the best features of earlier versions. A whole new set of theoretical perspectives and timelines illuminate the latest fossil finds. The links to the WWW sites are a terrific pedagogical addition to help students keep current, in real time, as new finds are uncovered or restudies are reported. For anyone interested in anthropology and human evolution.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:20 -0400)

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