Mammalia

ORDER I. rRIMATES.

Fart-lulh cutting; upjicr parallel; teats z pcBoral, i. HOMO.

SapiettS' Diurnal; varying by education and fiti::mp;i.

i. Four-footed, mute, hairy. fFHft i\fotu

Copper-coloured, cholcric, crc&. Amcrican.

Ilajrhhck, (h.vgttt. iliick.; nafufi wide, ^(f brft); fvar.t IrtWj'i chjiinate, fouicht fus. Painti kimlclf villi fine tvd lints. Regulated by cuILkos*

4. Fair, fmgutnc, brawny- European.

HairYv'liow.brown, Flowing; tya blue j gtntU, acute, iuvtntiw. Cwtrcd with dote ycltikieim. Govt rued by laws.

Sooty, im-'tanchaly, rigid' Jfiafi,-*

J fair bldtk f rjVi dark; ftvett, lunghiy, covetous. Covirtd Will H»fe garments. Goytrntd by opinions, ' C\ BTack, phlegmatic, xclaxcd. African.

AW bljcki fravtai; ]}>■» ft iky ttt>f* (1st; tiffs r timid; crafty-, iudotcnt, m^lignit. Anuitilx him [¿If u-uh giai-'. Cdvtrutd by tapricci t'oflrtfu 1 Varying by climate or arr>

Large, indolent- Patogwum-

3- Lela fertile. Hmcnttt.

4- Beardltfi. Amcrica n.

6. HmJ flattened. CjWrViw.

Tin njiur.I, iKonl, cyl ynd tbcial hiftoricj : . bcil dtfsibcd by thti[ Vl':> WHtftn.

Classification by Linnaeus of man as an animal of genus Homo and species sapiens, from A General System of Nature by Carl von Linne, 1806 (Library of Congress)

in the fossil record; they have cranial and postcranial dimensions similar to those of modern humans, yet they show no evidence that leads us to believe they had incorporated a modern behavioral repertoire. Yet, 50,000 years later, with little change in the bony morphology, evidence of a dramatic change in behavior appears. Tool manufacturing technology provides the earliest evidence of a creative pulse that catapulted anatomically modern humans on an evolutionary trajectory never before witnessed in the history of life. It is not surprising that when members of different hominid groups (Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis) who shared ecological niches within rapidly changing environments met, these two groups were forced to compete with each other for resources. It would only be a question of time until the advent of a flaked stone, bone, and wood technology would spawn a crucial advantage for the makers and users to out-compete one another for food and water. Tools probably helped to expand dietary breadths and contribute significantly to a group's survival during times of environmental stress.

In just a few thousand years, other behavioral changes show up in the fossil record in the form of parietal and stationary art, and body adornment (including jewelry made of seashells and teeth). Obviously, a cognitive gulf had been crossed. Soon Homo sapiens would start cultivating crops, domesticating animals, counting, writing, reading, and building. Just imagine, the significance of flaked stone, bone, and wood technologies lies not within its corpus of edification that results when one bashes two items together, but the necessary mental faculties and imaginative capabilities of first conceptualizing tools that possess the mechanical properties that facilitate their manufacture. When this first happened 2.5 million years ago, the overall hominid body size, brain size, and overall behavior was changing course. Brain size in hominids was increasing exponentially, and nothing short of a major hominid radiation occurred throughout the Old World. It seems that our evolutionary path was initially set in stone with the bashing of two rocks a few million years ago. Yet, it may be our desire to exemplify our own sense of purpose to others through magnificent cave paintings and portable carvings that reflexively made us who we are today: Homo sapiens, the last (latest?) of the hominids.

From a phylogenetic standpoint, we now know that the only uniqueness to being human is that our evolutionary history (which we believe to include dozens of extinct hominid species) culminated into a single polytypic species, Homo sapiens. From here we have three evolutionary choices: (1) to remain in stasis; (2) to evolve; or (3) to go extinct as all other creatures eventually do. The choice may or may not be entirely up to us.

—Ken Mowbray

See also: Human Evolution; Primates Bibliography

Tattersall, Ian. 1995. The Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know about Human Evolution. New York: Oxford University Press; Tattersall, Ian. 1998. Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness. New York: Harcourt Brace; Tattersall, Ian. 1999. The Last Neanderthal: The Rise and Success and Mysterious Extinction of Our Closest Living Relative. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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