Homo heidelbergensis and Homo sapiens

Assignment Directions

Answer the following questions based on the Canvas page about Homo heidelbergensis and the textbook reading about Homo sapiens (Chapter 12). You must provide detailed answers to each question for full credit. Try your best to summarize the information and write what you have learned in your own words. Any text that you directly copy needs to be in quotation marks, but copying will not be enough to get a high grade (see the grading rubric below). For full credit, you should either explain the information in your own words or if you copy any text, you should also provide your own interpretation. Please re-copy each question number your answers to correspond with the question numbers. Answer in full sentences and make sure to DESCRIBE when asked to do so.

Homo heidelbergensis
1. Let’s think about the evolution of the genus Homo. Which genus was the likely ancestor of the genus Homo? What is the earliest species in the genus Homo, and which species did this one evolve into? What species was the ancestor of Homo heidelbergensis? What two species did Homo heidelbergensis evolve into?

Homo sapiens
2. What does it mean to say that modern human traits evolved in a mosaic manner? Describe the morphological (=physical) characteristics of Homo sapiens (regarding both the skull and skeleton).

3. Describe some of the behaviorally modern traits of humans.

4. What do brain size and shape indicate about intelligence? How were Neanderthal brains different from Homo sapiens, and how may this have put Neanderthals at a disadvantage?

5. In which geographic location and at what time period are the earliest known fossils of Homo sapiens? In which geographic location and at what time period are the earliest fossils of Homo sapiens found in Europe?

6. Explain possible reasons that the migration of Homo sapiens into Europe was relatively “slow” (compared to migrations into Asia and Australia).

7. Have you heard of the term “Cro-Magnon” before? Explain what this term refers to.

8. Describe the behaviors associated with the Upper Paleolithic cultural tradition.

9. Describe the evidence that indicates that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred with each other (despite being separate species!)

10. Explain which modern groups are most likely to have DNA from Neanderthals.

Slidecast: Overview of the Genus Homo

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