African Tools Reveal Things about Human Technological Innovation


A mere 20 years ago, plenty of archaeologists thought that around 40,000 – 50,000 years ago there was a human revolution. According to them, that was the moment when certain modern behaviors appeared, such as innovation, art, or symbolism. Furthermore, this triggered an important shift in humans’ thinking, including the advance of complex language. If we were to look at the earliest modern human fossils, we would see that these were found in Africa and were dated around 100,000 years ago. This leaves us with a huge gap between the anatomically and behaviorally modern humans.

New Discoveries Change the Old Theories

However, in the recent years, we found out plenty of evidence that we didn’t just obtain our ‘modernity’ as we migrated out of Africa. For example, a couple of weeks ago we found out that the Neanderthals already painted images on the walls. Now, we are seeing even more evidence: three papers that were published in Science show that this modern behavior appeared earlier than we had thought.

Sally McBrearty and Allison Brooks, who work as archaeologists, presented evidence that comes from the Olorgesailie Basin, Kenya. Around 800,000 years ago, the conditions there were very rough. This shows that in order to survive there, early humans had to adapt. Consequently, some of them adapted both technologically and culturally. What’s more, excavations from the site (dated 320,000 years ago) show that there are specific differences between some stone tools and others. This is undeniable proof that technological evolution took place.

The Search Doesn’t Stop Here

However, all this doesn’t mean that the search will stop here. According to the latest archaeological evidence, the human revolution that turned our species modern happened earlier than we had previously thought. Finally, what the researchers still need to understand is the gradual complex change. More exactly, how did the hominin species that lived 500,000 – 160,000 years ago manage to deal with the technological advancement?

Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.


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