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First make sure you have read chapter 11 (“Archaic Humans”) of the Explorations textbook, especially the boxed discussion “Special Topic: Ancient DNA” near the end of the chapter. Once you have done that, watch and listen to P??bo’s lecture above. He will review some of the important paleogenomic discoveries that occurred after “Last Human Standing” was made. As P??bo goes through his research timeline, you will understand why the information in the “Becoming Human” documentary is wrong given what we now know. Although the lecture is intended for a general audience, some things he discusses will be challenging for you. This is why it is good to read the textbook chapter first. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything in the lecture, just keep listening and he will cover the essential findings. Even more recently, P??bo and co-author Hugo Zeberg have asserted a connection between severe COVID-19 cases and the Neanderthal genome (Links to an external site.).

After you have finished listening to the lecture you will write a 700 word update on the what the genetics research on the Neanderthals and Denisovans now shows us about those species and about our own. In your response, you should answer the following series of questions:

Who are the Neanderthals and the Denisovans?
What does the “Last Human Standing ” documentary say about the paleogenetic research on Neanderthals and Denisovans? Why did the documentary get it wrong? What has happened since the documentary aired? Discuss some information from the lecture by Svante P??bo to update the film.
What does ancient DNA (aDNA) teach us about each of these species? Which human populations are they connected to?
What can their genomes tell us about their population structures?
What does this research show us about our own evolutionary trajectory as modern humans?
Finally, use the internet to find a news article describing recent (2020-2021) paleogenetic research findings related to either Neanderthals or Denisovans. Describe the findings and explain why they are significant
As always, you are welcome to exceed the length requirement (your response should simply be more than 700 words long). When you are finished, place a word count at the bottom of your assignment that looks like this:

[768 Words]

You should use APA citations and references for any sources you use in your paper. Remember, if you don’t remember how to do APA citations and references, you can find more information here.


Editors: Beth Shook, Katie Nelson, Kelsie Aguilera and Lara Braff

American Anthropological Association Arlington, VA


CC BY-NC 4.0 International, except where otherwise noted

ISBN ? 978-1-931303-63-7

Chapter 11: Archaic Homo
Amanda Wolcott Paskey, M.A., Cosumnes River College AnnMarie Beasley Cisneros, M.A., American River College


Figure 11.1 Popular perceptions of human ancestors at the transition to modern Homo sapiens often take the form of the stereotypical, and inaccurate, ?caveman.?

What do you think of when you hear the word ?caveman?? Perhaps you imagine a character from a film such as The Croods, Tarzan, or Encino Man or from the cartoon The Flintstones. Maybe you picture the tennis-playing, therapy-going hairy Neanderthals from Geico Insurance commercials. Or perhaps you imagine comic characters from ?The Far Side? or ?B.C.? comics. Whichever you picture, the character in your mind is likely stooped over with a heavy brow, tangled long locks and other body hair, and clothed in animal skins, if anything. They might be holding a club with a confused look on their face, standing at the entrance to a cave or dragging an animal carcass to a fire for their next meal see Figure 11.1). You might have even signed up to take this course because of what you knew?or expected to learn?about ?cavemen.?
These images have long been the stigma and expectation about our ancestors at the transition to modern Homo sapiens. Tracing back to works as early as Linnaeus, scientists once propagated and advanced this imagery, creating a clear picture in the minds of early scholars that informed the general public, even through today, that archaic Homo sapiens, ?cavemen,? were somehow distinctly different and much less

intelligent than we are now. Unfortunately, this view is incorrect, overly simplistic, and misleading. Understanding what archaic Homo sapiens were actually like requires a much more complex and nuanced picture, one that continues to be

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