ANT203Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, Homo Heidelbergensis

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6 Feb 2013
February 5, 2013.
Lecture 16 - Homo erectus and contemporaries
This Class
Finish Australopiths
Early Homo
Behavioural adaptations
o Stone Tool Technologies
Homo erectus
o Morphology
o Africa, Indonesia, China
o Comparison of Asian and African Homo erectus
o Europe
o Technology
Homo habilis
East Africa
2.4-1.6 mya
Earliest hominin tool users
Olduvai Gorge
Cranial Characteristics
o Relative to earlier hominins:
Slightly increased cranial capacity (500-800cc)
Chimpanzee and Australopithecine 350-400cc
40% bigger
Small brow ridge
Smaller face (rel. to Australopithecus)
Reduced molar size
Same bipedal characteristics as Australopithecines/Paranthropines
Tool Kits
Stone tools date to 2.5 mya
Variety of tool industries
Oldowan Tool Industry
o 2.5 mya
o Simple end of the tool spectrum/scale
o Rounded stones that have been flaked a few times to produce some kind of edge
o Made using direct percussion methods
o Made changes to diet possible; eat more animal proteins, previously could only eat the
kinds of foods one could skin using teeth and nails
Could be a reason for reduction in teeth, less need for them
o Variation in shape and size
Unrelated to how they were used, made, or toolmakers thought they should
More due to differences in the raw materials/rocks themselves; fracture and
break in different ways
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o Associated (we think) with Homo habilis; morphologically not adept at meat eating and
would therefore need such tools (small tooth size)
Achulean Tool Industry
o 1.6 mya
o Standardized form
Little “fancier”, less crude than Oldowan
E.g. hand axes, most famous example
Distinctive tear-drop shape
Indicates more effort towards planning in tool-making
Ratio of height, to width, to thickness, etc.
Made with specific uses in mind
o Passed from generation to generation
Indicated by those standardized forms
Very little change in Achulean tools across space (Africa, Asia, Europe) AND time
Potential parents teaching offspring
o Associated with remains of Homo erectus, primary users of Achulean tools
o Flaked on both sides
Levallois tool technique
o 300 kya
o Associated with later hominins, in particular Homo heidelbergensis
o Achulean tools were still also being made
o More complex
o 3 steps
Make a flat top by flaking around circumference
Point the flat top by flaking at an angle around circumference
Flake off the pointed top, this is the tool
o Made from large, symmetrical shapes
o Improved spears and knives
Two-step/composite tool
Attaching handles and such
o Raw material from further away
Mousterian Tradition
o Named after particular French Neandertal site, associated with Neandertals
o Lighter, smaller tools
Using Levalloisian techniques
o More variety in types of tools being made for the first time
Fixed to handles/wooden shafts
Variety in types and sub-types
o Meat eating
Upper Paleolithic Tool Industry
o 33 kya
o More varieties of tools, e.g. blades
Characteristic for being twice as long as they are wide
A lot more preparation/time required to create
o Stereotypical pattern
o Bone, antler, teeth to make tools
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