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Thread: It's All Downhill Since Cro-Magnon

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    Post It's All Downhill Since Cro-Magnon

    The often denigrated Cro-Magnon in fact have larger cranial capacities than (ahem) modern man. LOL, how often have I heard remarks that aboriginies are Cro-Mags?

    http://members.chello.nl/p.cooijmans/essay/evol.html

    By about 90 000 BC, some groups of archaic Homo sapiens had evolved skull features sufficiently advanced for them to be given the species name Homo sapiens. These lived in the Middle-East and in Africa. The ones in the Middle-East migrated to Europe where they arrived around 35 000 BC, and are called Cro-Magnon, after the place where they were first found. These Cro-Magnon had an even larger cranial capacity than had Neanderthals; perhaps averaging around 1550 cc. They were technologically somewhat more advanced than Neanderthals, and also produced art. Like the Neanderthals, they buried their death. Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals both descended from erectus, but there is doubt as to whether Cro-Magnons were descendants from African erectus (via African archaic sapiens and sapiens forms who migrated to the Middle-East) or from European erectus. In the latter case, this would imply that the European erectus, also called Homo heidelbergensis, split into two branches around 500 000 BC, one in the north leading to Neanderthals, and one in the south-east leading to Cro-Magnons.

    Cro-Magnons as a group - to be regarded a race or subspecies of Homo sapiens - lived at least until 10 000 BC. For thousands of years they co-existed in Europe with the Neanderthals, which disappeared around 25 000 BC. Around 10 000 BC the ice age ended, and life became easier in Europe. People from other regions - Homo sapiens, presumably - migrated to Europe and interbred with the Cro-Magnons, which therefore as good as vanished between 10 000 and 2000 BC. People with apparently Cro-Magnon ancestry, called Cro-Magnoids, existed until about 2000 BC. Currently, only the indigenous inhabitants of the Canary Islands and the Dal people of Sweden are thought to be pure Cro-Magnon descendents.

    Between 8000 and 4000 BC, agriculture and cattle herding were discovered, and the hunter-gatherers became farmers. Some think this may have actually resulted in a lower quality diet. Also, the groups which fused with the Cro-Magnons after 10 000 BC probably were less advanced and had smaller brains than the latter. They were only able to come to Europe after the ice age had ended, while Cro-Magnons had been living for over 25 000 years in harsh conditions already. In the milder post-ice age climate, there was less pressure for natural selection. All in all, this may have been a period of gradual degeneration resulting in modern Europeans, which have brains about 200 cc smaller than had Cro-Magnons.

    Meanwhile in south-east Asia, Australia had been inhabited some time before 40 000 BC. These people, presumably Homo sapiens by that time, came from Indonesia, and possibly there was also a group from south China. Judging from their skull features, including those of living Australians, they may plausibly have evolved from the east Asian variants of archaic Homo sapiens, which in turn descended from the east Asian variants of erectus. East Asia in particular is a region where there is continuity in skull features from the regional erectus to the regional, even currently living, sapiens.

    The currently popular Out of Africa theory though claims that ALL living humans descend from a group of Homo sapiens that migrated from Africa after 70 000 BC. Since these were supposed to be anatomically modern, this theory implies that, once in Australia, they must have evolved back into a form with archaic skull features (current Australians still have projecting jaws, big teeth and pronounced brow ridges). I am therefore inclined to think that at least for south-east Asia the "multi-regional" hypothesis is more likely; that is, the idea that erectus evolved regionally, via local archaic sapiens forms, into Homo sapiens, with of course a lot of migration and interbreeding going on still.


    I've also read of Cro-Magnon being classified as Sapiens Sapiens, with (ahem) modern man, being mre sapiens
    Last edited by Noddy; Thursday, February 5th, 2004 at 04:48 AM.
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    Post Re: Downhill since Cro-Magnon

    Quote Originally Posted by Noddy
    The often denigrated Cro-Magnon in fact have larger cranial capacities than (ahem) modern man. LOL, how often have I heard remarks that aboriginies are Cro-Mags?

    I don't think that you have, because nobody has said this about them, as far as I know. Modern and ancient Australoids are obviously very different from the Cro-Magnon type, so I find it hard to believe that anyone could confuse them.

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    Post Re: Downhill since Cor-Magnon

    I've seen this on some other boards. Probably by posters who have read few books in their lifetimes.
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    Post Re: Downhill since Cor-Magnon

    Quote Originally Posted by Noddy
    I've seen this on some other boards. Probably by posters who have read few books in their lifetimes.

    Are you sure they weren't suggesting that Australoids resemble neanderthals, or are descended from a South-East Asian type?

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