ANTA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Prognathism, Acheulean, Homo Ergaster

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Published on 13 Nov 2015
ANTA01- Lecture 9 – Rise of the Genus Homo
Earliest tool cultures shown by hominids
oShows how they were living, shows how food was obtained
Hominids that arose after Australopithecines – Genus Homo (our own genus)
oWhere they came from
oWhere did they move to?
Olduwan Tools
First stone tool culture is known as Olduwan tools
Very simple stone tools
Dated to 2.6-1.7 million years
Earliest found in East Africa
The oldest tools we can reliably “identify”
Any sticks that were used as tools wouldn’t fossilize
oThinks like sticks, rocks, antlers, etc. are not modified
Tools in the Olduwan Tool culture
oFlakes (chopped off other rocks to make sharp edges)
oCores (what you chop off to make flakes)
oHammer stones
These 3 tools are known as Mode 1
Stone Technology Classification
oMode 1: The Olduwan industry, the simplest tools, removes flakes from cores, no
systematic shapes (kind of random)
oMode 2: The Acheulean industry, systematic in their structure
oMode 3: The Mousterian industry, where things get even more complicated  re-
chipping, making things like chisels, flakes are used as tools
Olduwan Tools in Specific
oEarliest known stone tools
oUsed by many species which means they are found in many types of sites
oOriginally found in Ethiopia
oArchaeologists try to make these tools and what they found was that the flake
was more efficient than the actual choppers
The flakes were very sharp, and delicate cutting could be done with the
oMode 1 technology
oThey are characterized by being either
A few tools in the tool kit and one tool can be used for many things
Example: you move and you only have 2 knives and you use
these two knives for everything
This is the opposite of curated (kept for a long thing and
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Made when they were needed and then thrown away
oThis might be because they couldn’t be carried
Early Tool Culture
Olduwan tools were mostly large cores that were flaked (chipped off) to create edges
Created with a “hard hammer” percussion method
Experiments show that most of these tool-makers were right handed
Flakes are very effective tools themselves
Hard to say which was the first Australopithecus to make these tools
Cutmarks on bones: an indication of tool use
Flakes are very sharp and leave a signature on bones and it can be seen through
powerful microscopes
To know a tool has been used, there are cutmarks
We have older evidence of Olduwan tools
oThere are cutmarks on animal bones from 3.39 million years ago from Ethiopia
Why were the first tools needed?
Because of seasonality and species had to adapt to this
Fluctuating food availability
Using tools for things expanded your resources
Females use more tools than males
oMales are bigger and stronger and don’t need to use tools like females did
Just because we find cutmarks on bones and etc. doesn’t mean that they hunted
Hunters or Scavengers?
Sites have been found with tools and animal bones
People assume that when they find these, it is from hunting
oBut there are other possibilities:
Bones because of natural resources
Animals dying due to animal causes
The bones and tools may be from different time periods
Scavenging is very difficult
oIdea of who would challenge a lion for it’s food?
Scavenging might be an option for early hominids
The question remains: were Oldowan toolmakers hunters or scavengers?
Olduwan Toolmaker Foraging
Experimental techniques demonstrate that tools could be used for butchery and to
extract termites
Tools were found in association with large accumulations of animal bones with cutmarks
oCarnivore tooth marks under cut marks
oCut marks under carnivore tooth marks
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oBut, taphonomic analyses show that they are not from natural accumulation and
dome may be carnivore killing sites.
Olduvai sites where hominids made kills were temporary caches tools and were not
home bases.
o“Butchery sites” and are places where you attract predators. They are temporary
because you wouldn’t want these predators coming to the place of where you
Latest evidence shows that Olduwan toolmakers (Australopithecus) were probably more
of scavengers but they also hunted small things
The Genus Homo
To understand this, we need to understand the transition from Australopithecus to Homo
It is hard to define which specific genus is from other genus’
oI.e. Hard to say this is Homo and this is Australopithecus
There is not much fossil record for early Homo
Many forms of Homo aren’t different from Australopithecus
In Homo, we see a bump in brain size
It was previously believed that both were completely different from each other
Now, Homo is defined by
oLarger brain case
oA smaller, less prognathic face
oSmaller teeth
oA larger body
oA more efficient biped
Key Homo Adaptations
Fully terrestrial life which means long legs and short arms
More complex foraging techniques
oExample: taking things from other things (instead of just taking flakes from the
core, you keep chipping the core more and more)
We mature much more slowly compared to non-human primates
There is a low sexual dimorphism
There is increasing paternal investment
oDads are more involved in their offspring development process
Homo habilis/rudolfensis
Earliest Homo (first Homo species)
Dates from 1.9-1.6 million years ago
Some people argue that there are 2 species
oOne is smaller and one is larger
oSexual dimorphism
Found at Olduvai Gorge
Homo habilis means “handy man”
Some people classified them as Australopithecus
oHow they differ
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