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Thread: Animals in Ancient Europe and North America

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    The Twilight Beasts site has a very good picture of one of the 160,000 sapiens skulls, the Herto skulls. I am unable to copy and paste that picture but I wish someone who can would do so and we could discuss that skull.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    The Twilight Beasts site has a very good picture of one of the 160,000 sapiens skulls, the Herto skulls. I am unable to copy and paste that picture but I wish someone who can would do so and we could discuss that skull.
    This image the one? Herto seems to me AMH but not unique for the fossil record of its time. The skull lacks, for instance, a modern brow as expected given its age.


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    You hit upon one of the reasons I wanted to talk about this skull. If you notice the region right above where the eyes meet. There is a ridge here. This is a supercilliary projection. It trails away as we move laterally but does not really go away. Then we have a huge, deep post orbital constriction. The head height is what seems to be making this guy modern but not modern in the real modern sense in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    You hit upon one of the reasons I wanted to talk about this skull. If you notice the region right above where the eyes meet. There is a ridge here. This is a supercilliary projection. It trails away as we move laterally but does not really go away. Then we have a huge, deep post orbital constriction. The head height is what seems to be making this guy modern but not modern in the real modern sense in my mind.
    And yet Paleoafricans were less advanced than this, and certainly not behaviourally modern, when they split away from mainline human evolution. That's a wild thought, but I explained how they could be assimilated into the modern species easily (defining Homo sapiens by craniofacial traits of course - genetically even the Broken Hill hominin is now in the crown group).

    Afridont teeth are supposedly more primitive than those of non-Africans, and Capoids a subset within Afridonts not a side branch. For whatever its worth, Early Holocene Kenyans and Tanzanians were the had fewest ancestral traits of Afridonty compared to further west and south. Off top of head I don't remember where Pygmies fit or if they were sampled at all. Mesolithic Nubians were, despite their geographical location.

    A curious fact is Pygmies show little to no trace of a language of their own. Their musical styles are distinct from those of full sized blacks, yes. But there is not much evidence of a former Pygmy language substrate. I find this detail bizarre but it needs accounting for. Is it possible the old Paleoafricans had music and song (meaningless vocables) but lacked speech when they branched off? My own thoughts are that the Kebara (neanderthal) hyoid demonstrates speech, or at least the range of sounds produced by humans today, but the Nariokotome boy did not, and still had laryngeal air sacs that would have hindered modern speech.

    Anyway...

    Quote Originally Posted by Serge Bahuchet
    Anthropological remains are very rare in Central Africa, and only three sites delivered some bones. The oldest concerns 18 individuals excavated in the Shum Laka shelter (NorthWest Cameroon) in three tombs from 6,000 years BP and six more dated circa 15th century CE. Along the Ubangi River, a single skull was found dated circa 1st century BC. The most recent is a skeleton from the Matangai Turu rock shelter in Ituri (DRC), dated 1235 AD. None of these remains can be clearly attributed to some morphotype, either Pygmy or not.
    Matangai Turu was a LSA site with one iron artifact, and I found the two Shum Laka populations Bahuchet mentions are biologically distinct. Sadly I can't find much more on Shum Laka. Ron Pinhasi and Patrick Semal have found Shum Laka plots close to series from Elmenteita and Gamble’s Cave, but no details about the stratigraphy.

    Matangai Turu: https://www.academia.edu/391542/Eigh...Turu_Northwest

    The skull is small, with a medium thickness of the parietals and very little closure of the cranial sutures (see list of cranial features in Table 2).

    In superior view (Fig. 3), the skull presents an ovoid shape and has a dolichocranial cephalic index.The cranium has a narrow face and a vertical fore-head. The orbits are quadrangular and hypsiconch. The nasal bones indicate a nonprojecting, wide, and straight nose. In posterior view the skull presents a domiform shape. Most of the cranial base is missing.The MTNW mandible has a high robusticity index(57.4) and an ellipsoid arch. Additional mandibular measurements and indices are provided in Table 2.
    Although “pygmy” crania are small in overall size, the most distinctive aspects of “pygmy”cranial morphology are in facial proportions: they tend to have a relatively wide, short face, with marked alveolar prognathism, a wide interorbital distance, and a nasal aperture that is quite widein comparison to its height (Froment, 1993). These proportions cannot be evaluated in the MTNW cranium. However, the measurements of the MTNW cranium that appear to be undistorted are relatively small, and thus more comparable in size to the “pygmy” samples of Marquer (1972) than to the larger crania (especially those of the males) of African farming populations. The skull’s small size thus provides a tenuous link with extant“pygmy” populations.

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