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Homo sapiens


AAC Catalogue Number: 2004.11.17


Dates: 190,000 years ago to now


Geographic Range: Homo sapiens originated in East Africa and now populate most of the planet.


Anatomical Features:

  • Rounded skull
  • Large brains
  • Less robust postcranial skeleton
  • Relatively long limbs to trunk ratio, efficient for bipedalism 
  • Oblique knee joints also make bipedalism more efficient 


Technology Used: In addition to all earlier industries, early Homo sapiens used both Mode IV and V tools, as well as a wide array of new raw materials.


Diet: Omnivorous – human diets are diverse and vary regionally, as they have been for all of human history. It is generally understood that meat eating and the use of fire for cooking were also integral to human evolution. 


Other Info: 

  • Homo sapiens are the only remaining hominin species that survives today.


Remaining Questions:

  • What are the relationships between humans and other archaic hominins such as Neanderthals and Denisovans?
  • Why did other hominin species such as Neanderthals go extinct? What contributing role did humans play in these events?
  • What specific adaptations allowed humans to be able thrive in so many different environments?


Description (from Bone Clones):

“100,000 YA. The Homo sapiens skull Skhul 5 was discovered by T. McCown near Mount Carmel, Israel in 1932. McCown first described the skull in 1936 in the Bulletin American School of Prehistoric Research (Issue 12). The remains of 10 individuals were excavated from Skhul cave in 1932 and are widely considered to be the earliest examples of H. sapiens outside of Africa. The Skhul skulls show much variation in the expression of modern traits. With a cranial capacity of 1520 cc, features common to modern skulls are the high forehead, expanded frontal portion of the braincase, and rounded back of the skull. Differences from modern skulls include its more pronounced brow ridges, and prognathic lower face. Skhul 5 has been suggested as providing evidence of hybridization between humans and Neanderthals. Current evidence indicates that Neanderthals and early modern Homo sapiens alternately occupied the Near East during cold and warm periods, respectively, for thousands of years.”