The technology took a long time to acquire, required step by step planning and increased social interaction across the generations. This led to the human brain developing new abilities.
200 000 years ago, small groups of people wandered across Africa, looking like us anatomically but not thinking the way we do today. Studies of fossils and the rate of mutations in DNA show that the human species to which we all belong – Homo sapiens sapiens – has existed for 200 000 years.
But the archaeological research of recent years has shown that, even though the most ancient traces of modern humans are 200 000 years old, the development of modern cognitive behaviour is probably much younger. For about 100 000 years, there were people who looked like us, but who acted on the basis of cognitive structures in which we would only partially recognise ourselves and which we do not define today as modern behaviour.
It is precisely that period of transformation that the researchers at Lund University in Sweden have studied. In the next issue of the well renowned Journal of Human Evolution, they present their new findings on the early modern humans that existed in what is now South Africa, approximately 80 000 years ago.
The findings show that people at that time used advanced technology for the production of spearheads and that the complicated crafting process developed the working memory and social life of humans.
“When the technology was passed from one generation to the next, from adults to children, it became part of a cultural learning process which created a socially more advanced society than before. This affected the development of the human brain and cognitive ability”, says Anders Högberg, PhD.
The technology led to increased social interaction within and across the generations. This happened because the crafting of stone spearheads took a long time to learn and required a lot of knowledge, both theoretical and practical. Producing a stone spearhead also required the ability to plan in several stages. This social learning contributed to the subsequent development of early modern humans’ cognitive ability to express symbolism and abstract thoughts through their material culture, for example in the form of decorated objects.
“The excavations have been carried out in a small cave; the location we have studied is called Hollow Rock Shelter and lies 250 km north of Cape Town. We are cooperating with the University of Cape Town and the research we have just published is part of a larger research project on this location”, says Professor Lars Larsson.The article is entitled Lithic technology and behavioural modernity: New results from the Still Bay site, Hollow Rock Shelter, Western Cape Province, South Africa.
http://authors.elsevier.com/offprints/YJHEV1563/70884d412686a738f8080c0e473c6c11For more information, please contact:
Megan Grindlay | idw
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction