The Archaeology of the Origins of Modern Humans
Sponsored by AIA-MN
AIA Society Event: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 6:00pm
John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center at Macalester College
Lecture by Gilbert Tostevin
Why anatomically modern humans survived the Pleistocene Epoch, whereas our evolutionary relatives, the Neanderthals and other archaic Homo species did not, is a fundamental question for anthropological archaeology. The origins of modern humans as a research subject engages of the fields of genetics, biological anthropology, demographic modeling, geology, and Paleolithic archaeology. I will present the archaeological conclusions concerning both the consensus view of our species’ origins as well as recent cutting edge research on the adaptations that allowed our proliferation at the end of the last Ice Age. Regardless of which of these adaptations (long-range weaponry, diet breadth, social behavior, and others) were most critical, each potential explanation has a significant message for our species’ immediate present and future.