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Talking Hominins

9 August 2018

At https://popular-archaeology.com/article/the-last-hominin-standing .. the last hominin standing – modern humans. This is a useful study and quite interesting but it suffers from certain assumptions. For example, it is assumed the equatorial zone has never shifted – and global topography was little different to that of today. Understandable assumptions one might say – but worth bearing in mind as the authors conclude modern humans differened from other manifestations of humanity by being more adaptable to extreme climates (as in deserts and polar regions). Uniformitarianism is also implicit as it assumes hominins developed at a gradual rate and modern humans are more advanced than Neaderthals and they in turn more advanced than Homo erectus. This limits what they can simulate. For example, Homo erectus they say was endemic in tropical climates (following the equatorial zone from Africa to SE Asia), rarely daring to venture of out of this zone over 1 million years. Likewise, Neanderthals are thought to be cold adapted, occupying northern regions in the Ice Age. They then qualify this by saying Neanderthals were commonly found on steppe and grassland environments – hunting mammoth etc. Hence, Neadnerthals were not living in tropical zones – or at the edge of the ice sheet. In contrast, they argue, modern humans are found in a variety of habitats – and latitudes. The author admits his ideas are hypthetical and could be disproven by evidence if hominins living in 'extreme' environments are discovered.

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