Anatomically Modern Humans

Anatomical comparison of skulls of Homo sapiens (left) and Homo neanderthalensis (right) (in Cleveland Museum of Natural History) Features compared are the braincase shape, forehead, browridge, nasal bone, projection, cheek bone angulation, chin, and occipital contour.

The term anatomically modern humans (AMH) refers in paleoanthropology to individual members of the species Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans.

Anatomically modern humans evolved from archaic humans in the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago. The emergence of anatomically modern human marks the dawn of the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, i.e. the subspecies of Homo sapiens to which all humans alive today belong. The oldest fossil remains of anatomically modern humans are the Omo remains found in modern-day East Africa, which date to 195,000 years ago and include two partial skulls as well as arm, leg, foot and pelvis bones.

Other fossils include the proposed Homo sapiens idaltu from Herto in Ethiopia that are almost 160,000 years old and the Skhul hominids from Israel, which are 90,000 years old.

The oldest human remains from which an entire genome has been extracted belongs to Ust’-Ishim man, who lived about 45,000 years ago in Western Siberia.

Behavioral modernity — a suite of changes in Homo sapiens behavior and cognition including abstract thinking, deep planning, symbolic behavior (e.g. art, ornamentation, music), exploitation of large game, and blade technology — is evident from around 40,000–50,000 years ago, and may have emerged abruptly then or may have arisen through gradual steps. However, it can and has been argued that Homo sapiens have been fully capable of modern behavior from the time they first evolved. Source: Anatomically modern human

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