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Oldowan Toolmakers and the Origins of Human Life History
The Original of Tool Use
Tool use probably quite ancient
Apes use tools
o Sticks to extract insects
o Stone to crack open nuts
o Sticks to test water depth
The Oldowan Toolmakers
Oldowan tool industry
o Flakes, hammer stones, cores
o Earliest evidence
o Homo habilis?
o Dikika: 3.4 mya?
o Gona: 2.5 myr
o Australopithecus garhi?
Complex Foraging Strategies in Humans
o Collected food
Fruit & leaves
o Extracted food
Termites, honey, tubers
o Hunted food
o Tuber extraction
o Hard-to-acquire food
o Requires hard-to-learn skills
Promotes long juvenile period
Food Sharing: Chimpanzees
o Mothers with infants
o Small prey usually not shared
o Large prey shared with other members of group
Human Food Sharing
Food sharing and division of labour in humans
o Juveniles: consumers
o Middle-aged men and postmenopausal women: producers
Evolution of Slow Life History
Extractive foraging and hunting require intelligence and learning
o Large brain
o Long juvenile period
o Increased longevity
o Paternal investment
o Reduced dimorphism (less competition)
Archaeological Evidence For Food Procurement- Tools
Contemporary experiments indicate that Oldowan tools could have been used for a variety of tasks, including large game
Wear patterns on bone tools from South Africa indicate that they were used to excavate termite mounds.
Complex Foraging in Oldowan Toolmakers
Mode 1 stone tool technology
o Carcass butchering
o Digging sticks
Swartkrans, South Africa, bone tools
Termite extractive foraging
Evidence for Meat Eating
Evidence for meat eating
o Concentrations of butchered bones and tools.
o Bovid concentrations outnumber all others.
Taphonomy: a study of what happens to bone after death.
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