Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why the hunters moved down from the hills

But this was a period of great change – environmental and social. The northern hemisphere was coming out of a glacial age, nomadic hunter-gatherers were “settling down” and the age of agriculture was approaching. I can imagine that dwellings at lower altitude would have been more suitable for continuous occupation whereas the caves and grottos at high altitude were probably only occupied seasonally. Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Ancestors, Evolution, Hunter-gatherer, Origins of Agriculture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Neanderthal genes are everywhere

Neanderthals may have provided the genes favourable to cold resistance which were then selected forin Northern climes. They may also have thus provided the genes for skin and hair colour changes. But they also provided the genes which increased the susceptibility to some new diseases. Hybrid Neanderthal – modern human males may have been infertile and so the assimilation of Neanderthal genes may primarily have been through the hybrid females. All this probably between 80,000 years ago and 40,000 years ago – over about 2,000 generations. Continue reading

Posted in AMH, Ancestors, Denisovans, Homo Erectus, Homo Neanderthalensis, Peopling the world | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Promiscuity in the Pleistocene

At some point there must have been children who were 50% Neanderthal and 50% AMH. And some who were 50% Neanderthal and 50% Denisovan. How did they survive? What kind of society existed in these ancient times that would permit such offspring not only to survive but also to mate and produce offspring in their turn? But however it happened, our ancestors in the pleistocene were a promiscuous lot. Continue reading

Posted in AMH, Ancestors, Denisovans, Evolution, Homo Erectus, Homo Neanderthalensis, Homo Sapiens | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Controlled use of fire in a hearth from 300,000 years ago

But this evidence from the Qesem Cave does show that by 300,000 years ago, the regular and controlled use of fire in a hearth, within a cave, had been well established. But what is even more interesting is that by 400,000 years ago, humans were allocating different areas of the cave for different “household activities”. It is also quite likely therefore that particular individuals were also specialising in particular activities. The first specialised “chefs”, toolmakers, leather craftsmen and perhaps even hunters or hunt leaders may date from this time. Continue reading

Posted in Ancestors, Control of fire, Homo Erectus, Origins of meat eating, Palaeolithic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SE Asia rainforests shaped by humans for 11,000 years

A new study comes to the brave conclusion – based on ancient pollen samples which contain charcoal and and therefore suggest that land was cleared and planted – that the rain forests of SE Asia have been “managed” by humans since about 11,000 years ago! Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Evolution, Homo Sapiens, Hunter-gatherer, Peopling the world | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Light skin genes in Europe less than 7,000 years old

The first European genome sequence that predates the appearance of agriculture from skeletons in La Brana show that these hunter gatherers had dark skin and blue eyes. The dark skin is a very interesting finding, as light skin is nearly universal across Europe today. These results suggest that the light skin seen across Europe today is a development of the last at least 7,000 years. Continue reading

Posted in AMH, Ancestors, Evolution, Homo Sapiens, Hunter-gatherer | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments