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A computer-generated image of a Cro-Magnon, based on skulls found by archaeologists

The Cro-Magnon were early modern humans (early Homo sapiens). They lived in Europe during the Upper Palaeolithic period.[1] Some anthropologists use the term "European early modern humans" to describe the Cro-Magnons.[2]

The earliest known Cro-Magnon remains are between 35,000 and 45,000 years old,[1][3] based on radiometric dating. The oldest remains, from 43,000 – 45,000 years ago, were found in Italy[3] and Britain.[4] Other remains also show that Cro-Magnons reached the Russian Arctic about 40,000 years ago.[5][6]

Cro-Magnons had powerful bodies, which were usually heavy and solid with strong muscles. Unlike Neanderthals, which had slanted foreheads, the Cro-Magnons had straight foreheads, like modern humans. Their faces were short and wide with a large chin. Their brains were slightly larger than the average human's is today.[7]

Naming[change | change source]

The name "Cro-Magnon" was created by Louis Lartet, who discovered the first Cro-Magnon skull in southwestern France in 1868. He called the place where he found the skull Abri de Cro-Magnon.[8] Abri means "rock shelter" in French;[8] cro means "hole" in the Occitan language;[9] and "Magnon" was the name of the person who owned the land where Lartet found the skull.[10] Basically, Cro-Magnon means "rock shelter in a hole on Magnon's land."

This is why scientists now use the term "European early modern humans" instead of "Cro-Magnons." In the scientific system which puts living things into categories, the term "Cro-Magnon" means nothing.[1]

Cro-Magnon life[change | change source]

Anatomy[change | change source]

Mostly, the Cro-Magnon's bodies were shaped like humans' bodies are today. They had the same organs and other body parts that allow today's humans to speak, so the Cro-Magnons could also speak.

Culture[change | change source]

Unlike the Neanderthals, who focused more on just surviving, the Cro-Magnons created art, carefully made tools, made jewelry, and had their own culture.[11] For example, the Cro-Magnons:[12][13]

Cave painting from the Upper Paleolithic period, found in Lascaux, France

Like most early humans, the Cro-Magnons mostly hunted large animals. For example, they killed mammoths, cave bears, horses, and reindeer for food.[14] They hunted with spears, javelins, and spear-throwers. They also ate things that came from plants.

The Cro-Magnons were nomadic or semi-nomadic. This means that instead of living in just one place, they followed the migration of the animals they wanted to hunt. They may have built hunting camps from mammoth bones; some of these camps were found in a village in the Ukraine.[15][16] They also made shelters from rocks, clay, tree branches, and animal fur.[16]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Fagan, B.M. (1996). The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 864. ISBN 978-0-19-507618-9.
  2. Fagan B.M. 1996. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford University Press, p. 864. ISBN 978-0-19-507618-9. "The term "Cro-Magnon" has no formal taxonomic status, since it refers neither to a species or subspecies nor to an archaeological phase or culture. The name is not commonly encountered in modern professional literature in English... Nevertheless, the term "Cro-Magnon" is still very commonly used in popular texts because it makes an obvious distinction with the Neanderthals, and also refers directly to people rather than to the complicated succession of archaeological phases that make up the Upper Paleolithic. This evident practical value has prevented archaeologists and human paleontologists from dispensing entirely with the idea of Cro-Magnons.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Early dispersal of modern humans in Europe and implications for Neanderthal behaviour". Nature 479 (7374): 525–8. doi:10.1038/nature10617. PMID 22048311.
  4. Higham T; Compton T; et al. 2011. "The earliest evidence for anatomically modern humans in northwestern Europe". Nature 479 (7374): 521–4. doi:10.1038/nature10484. PMID 22048314.
  5. Pavlov P; Svendsen JI; et al. 2001. "Human presence in the European Arctic nearly 40,000 years ago". Nature 413 (6851): 64–7. doi:10.1038/35092552. PMID 11544525.
  6. Svendsen JI; Pavlov P 2003. "Mamontovaya Kurya: An enigmatic, nearly 40 000 years old Paleolithic site in the Russian Arctic". Trabalhos de Arqueologia 33: 109-120. doi:10.1038/35092552. PMID 11544525. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  7. "Cro-Magnon". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1 (French) "Mode de vie au paleolithique superieur". (cached).éolithique%20supérieur. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  9. Geuljans, Robert (July 5, 2011). "Cros". Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Langue D’Oc. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  10. Hitchcock, Don (January 3, 2016). "The Cro-Magnon Shelter". Don’s Maps: Resources for the study of Palaeolithic / Paleolithic European, Russian and Australian Archaeology / Archeology. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  11. Rice, Stanly A. (2007). Encylopedia of Evolution (1st ed.). Checkmark Books. pp. 102–103. ISBN 0-8160-7121-7. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  12. Bar-Yosef O; Zilhao J (eds) 2006 Towards a definition of the Auringnacian: Proceedings of the Symposium held in Lisbon, Portugal, June 25-30, 2002 . Instituto Portugues de Arqueologia, 1-381. Report. Retrieved on February 2, 2016.
  13. Kvavadze E; Bar-Yosef O; et al. 2009. "30,000-year-old wild flax fibers". Science 325 (5946): 1359. doi:10.1126/science.1175404. PMID 19745144. Supporting Online Material
  14. "Bones from French Cave Show Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon Hunted Same Prey". ScienceDaily. University of Washington. September 23, 2003. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  15. Dan Koehl. "The Cro Magnon man (Homo sapiens sapiens) Anatomically Modern or Early Modern Humans". Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Pidoplichko, I.H. (1998). Upper Palaeolithic dwellings of mammoth bones in the Ukraine: Kiev-Kirillovskii, Gontsy, Dobranichevka, Mezin and Mezhirich. Oxford: J. and E. Hedges. ISBN 0-86054-949-6.