Jeffrey H. Schwartz Professor

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3302 WWPH
Jeffrey Schwartz is a physical anthropologist whose research and teaching cover three major areas: the exploration of method, theory, and philosophy in evolutionary biology through focusing on problems involving the origin and subsequent diversification of extinct as well as extant primates, from prosimians to humans and apes; human and faunal skeletal analysis of archaeological recovered remains, particularly from historical sites of the circum-Mediterranean region; and dentofacial growth and development in Homo sapiens as well as mammals in general. Schwartz has done fieldwork in the United States, England, Israel, Cyprus, and Tunisia and museum research in the mammal and vertebrate paleontology collections of major museums in the United States, Great Britain, Europe, and Africa.

More about his research, teaching, and publications can be found at: http://www.pitt.edu/~jhs/

Hominid Evolution

 

In the evolutionary sciences, where we are all struggling to piece together a history that can be perceived only through the fragments of fossils or the living termini of a past that is now lost, it would be foolhardy to cling unreservedly to a particular set of models and hypotheses without at least occasionally questioning their very bases.

Schwartz, Jeffrey H.
1999 Sudden Origins : Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Almost 10 years after the discovery of 3733, the leader of Richard Leakey's hominid gang, Kamoya Kimeu, took himself out for one last survey of the area around the site.

Almost immediately upon reaching this unpromising patch, he found a small fragment of a hominid's skull. Little did anyone know that, by the time they'd finish at Nariokotome in 1988, they would collect more parts of any pre-Neanderthal skeleton than had even been known before, the Lucy skeleton included.

Although Broca's area of the brain, which is implicated in configuring language, was reportedly visibly developed on the Nariokotome youth's brain (as seen on an endocast), he was probably unable to speak as living humans do - at least in terms of the intricacies of breathing and its impact on the production of sound.

Schwartz, Jeffrey H. and Ian Tattersall
2001 Extinct Humans. Westview Press, pp. 131,138.

This is not to say that modern humans are not also obviously different from Neandertals in their own right - we know that we are unique. But, aside from pointing to the development of a chin, thinner bones, and a smaller face and smaller jaws, it wasn't until the early 1980s that an attempt was made to define uniqueness of modern humans without couching the discussion in terms of deriving modern human features from Neandertal or other "archaic" hominid features.

Schwartz, Jeffrey H.
1993 What the Bones Tell Us. University of Arizona, p. 226.