Using tools seems like second nature to humans today, but our prehistoric ancestors didn’t acquire this practical skill overnight. The timeline for the development of stone tools by humans has been rearranged by new research, shaking up traditional views about the evolution of ancient human ingenuity.
of STUDYpublished in Nature Communicationssuggests that humans went through a period of gradual cultural change after they began moving across Eurasia 50,000 to 40,000 years ago.
This new one Prospective challenges the previous belief that early humans experienced a rapid cultural and technological revolution before expanding across Eurasia. The earlier ‘revolution’ theory supported the idea that the sudden development of anatomically modern humans caused them to dominate Neanderthals and other archaic humans.
The study reached this updated conclusion after analyzing trends in human productivity with stone tools during the Middle-Upper Paleolithic (MP-UP), a transition between two crucial stages of human evolution.
People during the Middle Paleolithic era
During the Middle Paleolithic period (250,000 years to 40,000 years ago), A wise manNeanderthals and other archaic humans existed simultaneously in different parts of the world.
A wise man in Africa and Neanderthals in Europe practiced similar ways of making stone tools at this point, often using Technical Levallois; Through this method, specific areas of stone were struck with a hammer-like tool to extract a prepared ‘core’ flake, which would then be modified into cutting objects. This process required a considerable level of complicationespecially compared to earlier methods of tool production.
Read more: Paleomythic: How People Really Lived During the Stone Age
People during the Upper Paleolithic era
During the Upper Paleolithic period (50,000 years to 12,000 years ago), A wise man began to expand into new areas in Europe and Asia after archaic humans such as Neanderthals disappeared.
This period saw the arrival of several cultural features in anatomically modern humans, introducing new technologies for tool making, seafaring skills, and artistic expression in ornaments and cave art.
Read more: What exactly happened to the Neanderthals and why did they disappear?
New insights into human evolution and the progress of tool making
The MP-UP transition is mainly considered a sudden change associated with the onset of rapid cultural innovations. A common notion associated with this assumption is that A wise man experienced a sudden mutation in their brain, giving them an increase in cognitive abilities; This is thought to have been a major reason why they eventually outcompeted other archaic humans and drove the Neanderthals to extinction.
The new study changes that story and appears to overturn previous conclusions about human productivity. The researchers examined stone tool productivity with an advanced map over a 50,000-year span, spanning six cultural phases from the Late Middle Paleolithic through the Upper Paleolithic to Epipaleolithic (a period that recognizes the events in the Near East during the last stages of the UP).
They found that there was a significant increase in productivity AFTER Homo sapiens first advanced in Eurasia, not before or at the beginning of their dispersal.
“In terms of recent productivity, A wise man did not begin to spread in Eurasia after a rapid revolution in stone tool technology, but rather, the innovation in ‘advanced’ productivity occurred later, along with the miniaturization of stone tools such as knives,” says the lead researcher and University professor Nagoya.Seiji Kadowaki.
With these findings, the trajectory of ancient human tool production has been effectively changed; multiple stages of change, not even a single ‘revolution’, may have determined the innovations that humans set in motion thousands of years ago.
Read more: What was this record-setting massive stone tool used for?
Our writers at Discovermagazine.com use peer-reviewed studies and high-quality sources for our articles, and our editors review them for accuracy and reliability. Review the sources used below for this article: