Monday, May 17, 2010
Cro Magnons and the spread of homo sapiens
The flint tools found in association with the remains at Cro-Magnon differ from the earlier cultures by their finely worked bone or antler points and flint points made for hafting, the production of Venus figurines and cave painting.
Like Neanderthals, the Cro-Magnon were primarily big-game hunters, killing mammoth, cave bears, horses and reindeer.
Cro-Magnon artifacts suggest that they knew how to make woven clothing. Apart from the mammoth bone huts mentioned, they constructed shelter of rocks, clay, branches, and animal hide/fur.
These early humans used manganese and iron oxides to paint pictures and may have created the first calendar around 15,000 years ago.
Anatomically modern humans evolved in East Africa some 100 000 to 200 000 years ago. An exodus from Africa over the Arabian Peninsula around 60 000 years ago brought modern humans to Eurasia, with one group rapidly settling coastal areas around the Indian Ocean and one group migrating north to steppes of Central Asia.
A mitochondrial DNA sequence of two Cro-Magnons from the Paglicci Cave, Italy, dated to 23 000 and 24 000 years old (Paglicci 52 and 12), identified the mtDNA as Haplogroup N, typical of the latter group. The inland group is the founder of North and East Asians (the "Mongol" people), Caucasoids and large sections of the Middle East and North African population.
Migration from the Black Sea area into Europe started some 45 000 years ago, probably along the Danubian corridor. By 20 000 years ago, the whole of Europe was settled.