Skhul and Qafzeh hominids

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Skhul 5.

The Skhul/Qafzeh hominids or Qafzeh–Skhul early modern humans[1] are hominid fossils discovered in the Qafzeh and Es Skhul Caves in Palestine. Skhul Cave is on the slopes of Mount Carmel; Qafzeh Cave is a rockshelter in Lower Galilee.

The remains found at Es Skhul, together with those found at the Wadi el-Mughara Caves and Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh, were classified in 1939 by Arthur Keith and Theodore D. McCown as Palaeoanthropus palestinensis, a descendent of Homo heidelbergensis.[2][3][4]

History[edit]

Cast of the Qafzeh 9 human skull.

The remains exhibit a mix of archaic and modern traits. They have been tentatively dated at about 80,000-120,000 years old using electron spin resonance and thermoluminescence dating techniques.[5] The brain case is similar to modern humans, but they possess brow ridges and a projecting facial profile, similar to the Neanderthals. They were initially regarded as transitional from Neanderthals to modern humans, or as hybrids between Neanderthals and modern humans. Neanderthal remains have been found nearby at Kebara Cave that date to 61,000-48,000 years ago,[6] but it has been hypothesised that the Skhul/Qafzeh hominids had died out by 80,000 years ago because of drying conditions,[7] suggesting that the two types of hominids never made contact in the region. A more recent hypothesis is that Skhul/Qafzeh hominids represent the first exodus of modern humans from Africa around 125,000 years ago, probably via the Sinai Peninsula, and that the robust features exhibited by the Skhul/Qafzeh hominids represent archaic sapiens features rather than "Neanderthal features".[7] The discovery of modern human made tools from about 125,000 years ago at Jebel Faya, United Arab Emirates, in the Arabian Peninsula, may be from an even earlier exit of modern humans from Africa.[8]

In 2005, a set of 7 teeth from Tabun Cave in Palestine were studied and found to most likely belong to a Neanderthal that may have lived around 90,000 years ago,[9] and another Neanderthal (C1) from Tabun was estimated to be ~122,000 years old.[10] If the dates are correct for these individuals, then it is possible that Neanderthals and early moderns did make contact in the region and it may be possible that the Skhul/Qafzeh hominids are partially of Neanderthal descent. DNA analysis has revealed that "non-Africans" contain 1-4% Neanderthal genetic material and it has been postulated that hybridization took place in the Middle East,[11] however it has been suggested that the Skhul/Qafzeh hominids represent an extinct lineage, and that modern humans again exited Africa around 70,000 years ago, crossing a narrow stretch of water, known as the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, between present day Eritrea and the Arabian Peninsula,[7] which is the same route proposed to have been taken by the people who made the modern tools at Jebel Faya.[8]

Skhul[edit]

The Skhul remains were discovered between 1929 and 1935 at a cave located in Es Skhul in Mount Carmel, Palestine. The remains of seven adults and three children were found, some of which (Skhul;1,4, and 5) may have been deliberate burials.[12] Assemblages of perforated Nassarius shells (a marine species) significantly different from local fauna have also been recovered from the area, suggesting that these people may have collected and employed the shells symbolically as beads,[13] as they are unlikely to have been used as food.[14]

Skhul Layer B has been dated to an average of 81,000-101,000 years ago with the electron spin resonance method, and to an average of 119,000 years ago with the thermoluminescence method.[15][16]

Skhul 5[edit]

Skhul 5 was a burial with the mandible of a boar on the chest.[17] The skull displays prominent supraorbital ridges and jutting jaw, but the rounded braincase of modern humans. When found, it was assumed to be an advanced Neanderthal, but is today generally assumed to be a modern human, if a very robust one.[18]

Qafzeh[edit]

Qafzeh cave opens onto a wall of Wadi el Hadj in the flank of Mount Precipice. Excavation of the cave by René Neuville began in 1934 and resulted in the discovery of the remains of 5 individuals in the Mousterian levels, which was then called the Levalloiso-Mousterian.[19] (see Levallosian). The lower layers of the cave were later dated to 92,000 years ago,[20] and a series of hearths, several human graves, flint artifacts (side scrapers, disc cores, and points[21]), animal bones (gazelle, horse, fallow deer, wild ox, and rhinoceros[21]), a collection of sea shells, lumps of red ochre, and an incised cortical flake were found.[20]

The marine shells (Glycymeris bivalves) were brought from Mediterranean Sea shore some 35 km away, and were recovered from layers earlier than most of the graves except for one burial.[20] The shells were complete, naturally perforated, and several showed traces of having been strung (perhaps as a necklace), and a few had ochre stains on them.[20] The remains of 15 hominids (8 of them children) were recovered in total from Qafzeh within a Mousterian archaeological context and dated to ca. 95,000 years ago.[22] Remains of Qafzeh; 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 15 were burials.[17]

The various layers at Qafzeh were dated to an average of 96,000-115,000 years ago with the electron spin resonance method and 92,000 years ago with the thermoluminescence method.[15]

Qafzeh 6[edit]

The most well preserved skull. From the skull and teeth structure, the remains are believed to be of a young male. [23]

Qafzeh 9 and 10[edit]

A double grave found in 1969 contained the skeleton of an adult (late adolescent), thought to be a female (Qafzeh 9), and the skeleton of a young child (Qafzeh 10).[19] Qafzeh 9 has a high forehead, lack of occipital bun, a distinct chin, but an orthognathic face.[24]

Qafzeh 11[edit]

Found in 1971 was the grave of an adolescent (aged about 13 years[25]) buried in a pit dug in the bed rock. The skeleton was lying on its back, with the legs bent to the side and both hands placed on either side of the neck, and in the hands were the antlers of a large Red Deer antler clasped to the chest.[12]).[19]

Qafzeh 12[edit]

A child of about 3 years old who manifests with skeletal abnormalities that indicate hydrocephalus.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Trinkaus, E. (1993). "Femoral neck-shaft angles of the Qafzeh-Skhul early modern humans, and activity levels among immature near eastern Middle Paleolithic hominids". Journal of Human Evolution (INIST-CNRS) 25: 393–416. doi:10.1006/jhev.1993.1058. ISSN 0047-2484. 
  2. ^ The Palaeolithic Origins of Human Burial, Paul Pettitt, 2013, p59
  3. ^ Human Adaptation in the Asian Palaeolithic: Hominin Dispersal and Behaviour during the Late Quaternary, Ryan J. Rabett, 2012, p90
  4. ^ The stone age of Mount Carmel : report of the Joint Expedition of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and the American School of Prehistoric Research, 1929-1934, p18
  5. ^ Lewin, Roger; Foley, Robert A. (2004). Principles of Human Evolution. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. p. 385. ISBN 0-632-04704-6. 
  6. ^ Bar-Yosef O., Vandermeersch B., Arensburg B., Belfer-Cohen A., Goldberg P., Laville H., Meignen L., Rak Y., Speth J. D. et al. (1999). "The Excavations in Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel [and Comments and Replies]". Current Anthropology 33 (5): 497–550. 
  7. ^ a b c Oppenheimer, S. (2003). Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World. ISBN 1-84119-697-5. 
  8. ^ a b Lawler Andrew (2011). "Did Modern Humans Travel Out of Africa Via Arabia?". Science 331 (6016): 387. doi:10.1126/science.331.6016.387. 
  9. ^ Newly recognized Pleistocene human teeth from Tabun Cave, Palestine doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2005.04.005 Alfredo Coppa, Rainer Grün, Chris Stringer, Stephen Eggins, and Rita Vargiu Journal of Human Evolution Volume 49, Issue 3, September 2005, Pages 301-315
  10. ^ Grun R., Stringer C. B. (2000). "Tabun revisited: revised ESR chronology and new ESR and U-series analyses of dental material from Tabun C1". Journal of Human Evolution 39: 601–612. doi:10.1006/jhev.2000.0443. 
  11. ^ Neanderthal genome reveals interbreeding with humans: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18869-neanderthal-genome-reveals-interbreeding-with-humans.html, retrieved 13 July 2010.
  12. ^ a b E. Hovers and S. Kuhn (eds) Transitions Before the Transition: Evolution and Stability in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age. Springer: New York: 171-188
  13. ^ Mariah Vanhaeran, Francesco d'Errico, Chris Stringer, Sarah L. James, Jonathan A. Todd, Henk K. Mienis (2006). "Middle Paleolithic Shell Beads in Palestine and Algeria". Science 312 (5781): (5781): 1785–1788. doi:10.1126/science.1128139. PMID 16794076. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  14. ^ Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, 2004
  15. ^ a b Bar-Yosef, Ofer (1998) "The chronology of the Middle Paleolithic of the Levant." In T. Akazawa, K. Aoki, and O. Bar-Yosef, eds. Neandertals and modern humans in Western Asia. New York: Plenum Press. pp. 39-56.
  16. ^ Valladas, Helene, Norbert Mercier, Jean-Louis Joron, and Jean-Louis Reyss (1998) "Gif Laboratory dates for Middle Paleolithic Levant." In T. Akazawa, K. Aoki, and O. Bar-Yosef, eds. Neandertals and modern humans in Western Asia. New York: Plenum Press. pp. 69-75.
  17. ^ a b E. Hovers and S. Kuhn (eds) Transitions Before the Transition: Evolution and Stability in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age. Springer: New York: 171-188
  18. ^ McHenry, H. "Skhūl". Britannica, academic version. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c Bernard Vandermeersch, The excavation of Qafzeh, Bulletin du Centre de recherche français de Jérusalem, retrieved 12 July 2010. http://bcrfj.revues.org/index1192.html
  20. ^ a b c d Shells and ochre in Middle Paleolithic Qafzeh Cave, Palestine: indications for modern behavior Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, Bernard Vandermeersch and Ofer Bar-Yosef Journal of Human Evolution Volume 56, Issue 3, March 2009, Pages 307-314
  21. ^ a b Jabel Qafzeh http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology/sites/middle_east/jabel_qafzeh.htm)
  22. ^ a b Brief communication: An early case of hydrocephalus: The Middle Paleolithic Qafzeh 12 child (Palestine) Anne-Marie Tillier, Baruch Arensburg, Henri Duday , Bernard Vandermeersch (2000) http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/76510952/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
  23. ^ The Neolithic of the Levant -- Page 8 A. M. T. Moore -- Oxford University http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Jebel_Qafzeh.html
  24. ^ Cartmill, M., Smith, F.H. and Brown, K.B. (2009). The Human Lineage.
  25. ^ Perikymata number and spacing on early modern human teeth: evidence from Qafzeh cave, Palestine J. M. Monge, A.-m. Tillier & A. E. Mann

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°41′17.59″N 35°19′5.67″E / 32.6882194°N 35.3182417°E / 32.6882194; 35.3182417