The First Advance to the Glaciers
In this chapter we shall be concerned firstly with the transition of Homo erectus to Homo sapiens,and secondly with the rise and fall of Neanderthal man. In the preceding chapter, H. erectus was illustrated as a product of adaptation to the steppe but also able to exist in temperate climates during interglacial periods in Europe and China. From the earliest specimens of H. erectus known to its last representatives in the specimens from Choukoutien, or even Solo man, from China, a span of time passed that was possibly in excess of 1.5 million years (Howells 1973a). Only minor evolutionary changes occurred in that time span (Le Gros Clark 1964). There are indications that late H. erectus populations from Europe were spear hunters, which suggests that they had adapted to conditions in which for at least brief periods of the year the meat of large mammals was the only food. However, it is not at all certain that all hunters with late Acheulean hand-ax cultures were H. erectus. They could also have been H. sapiens, for the first representatives of this form in the fossil record are associated with late Acheulean tools (Howells 1973a).
KeywordsDust Europe Charcoal Gravel Hunt
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