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Modern human origins
What are the basic anatomical characteristics of modern humans? When did the first anatomically
modern humans appear? Where (on which continent) are the earliest modern humans found? Be
familiar with the three models for the origins of modern humans (multiregional evolution, recent African
origins, and multiple dispersals). Which one of these has the most support currently? What are some
key differences between modern humans and Neanderthals in terms of technology and other material
Contemporary human variation
What is the difference between adaptation and acclimatization? What is a cline? How does skin color
vary with latitude? What is the best current explanation for this pattern? What is phenotypic plasticity
and why is it important
The race concept
Is race a biologically meaningful way of describing human variation? Why or why not? How genetically
similar are humans (one individual to another)? How do the social consequences of race impact human
Domestication and early agriculture
What are subsistence strategies? When did the first human societies start producing their own food
rather than foraging? What did anthropologists learn about hunter-gatherer lifestyles from Richard Lees
study? Most archaeologists now agree that the shift to food production is best explained by multiple
causeswhat are some of the factors that might cause hunter-gatherers to shift to food 2 production?
(Specifically focus on the broad spectrum foraging theory vs. the competition theory.) What factor
seems to be important in explaining the shift from foraging to food production in Southeast Turkey
(around the site of Gobekli Tepe)? Where were the first societies to practice agriculture located? What is
domestication? What are some features found on domesticated animals and plants that are not present
on their wild ancestors? Which populations are least likely to be lactose intolerant? Why? Did
agriculture improve the health of early farmers?
Rise and decline of cities and states
What are some of the social and organizational consequences of food production? What is social
complexity? Be able to identify the major differences between bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and states.
What is the archaeological evidence for complex societies? What is the earliest true city and how old is
it? What are some factors that archaeologists have proposed as the explanation for why complex
societies developed? Are explanations that rely on single factors likely to be accurate? What are some
factors that may explain the decline of cities and states? Whats the difference between societal
collapse and resilience or transformation? Which of these processes are more common among human
societies (collapse or resilience/transformation)?
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