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← Earliest Signs of Advanced Tools Found

Earliest Signs of Advanced Tools Found - Comments

fergusgallagher's Avatar Comment 1 by fergusgallagher

It sure looks like "Boss Nass"

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 14:47:57 UTC | #867903

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 2 by Vorlund

One hallmark of Homo erectus, a forerunner of modern humans, was his stone tools, an advanced technology reflecting a good deal of forethought and dexterity. 1.76 million years ago.

More than impressed, I'm bedazzled. As a blacksmith I consider myself to have some mastery of forming. I have tried in vain to knap flints in the Acheulean style and conclude it is bloody difficult and probably takes some years of regular practice to be able to produce more useful tools than piles of rubble.

It is so difficult and time consuming that it is no wonder metal working took over even with the problems of how to make fires hot enough for smelting.

Acheulean tools are more complex than simple stone flakes, their symmetry provides better balance and makes them easier to wield and their sharp oval edges more efficient weapons and tooling. There must have been an overhead in terms of time and effort in producing these beautiful implements and I can't help wondering that by the time they were becoming common, homo erectus was finding enough food to enable them to support specialised tool makers.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 16:08:12 UTC | #867925

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 3 by Stafford Gordon

Wonderful discovery!

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 17:09:08 UTC | #867936

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 4 by KenChimp

Comment 2 by Vorlund :

One hallmark of Homo erectus, a forerunner of modern humans, was his stone tools, an advanced technology reflecting a good deal of forethought and dexterity. 1.76 million years ago.

More than impressed, I'm bedazzled. As a blacksmith I consider myself to have some mastery of forming. I have tried in vain to knap flints in the Acheulean style and conclude it is bloody difficult and probably takes some years of regular practice to be able to produce more useful tools than piles of rubble.

It is so difficult and time consuming that it is no wonder metal working took over even with the problems of how to make fires hot enough for smelting.

Acheulean tools are more complex than simple stone flakes, their symmetry provides better balance and makes them easier to wield and their sharp oval edges more efficient weapons and tooling. There must have been an overhead in terms of time and effort in producing these beautiful implements and I can't help wondering that by the time they were becoming common, homo erectus was finding enough food to enable them to support specialised tool makers.

When I was younger (as a kid, really), I was a "Knapster". I was fascinated by paleontology centered on dinosaurs and on early humans. I made spear and arrow points from flint and quartz I would find when out playing. My points were crude and barely serviceable, although to be fair (to my ineptness), I wasn't schooled on this technology. I just started trying to flake. It's difficult, time consuming and frustrating. I destroyed far more than I successfully made (both in stone and skin on my hands), and all of my points were way too triangular. I never developed the skill to "flatten" all but the edges and point of a work, which is rather embarrassing considering that hominids with half my brain size or less were doing it just fine with hand axes over a million years ago!

To my credit, some of my "waste" flakes were quite sharp. So sharp they could be used as skinning knives, though they were small and difficult to work with (I shaved one of my forearms with one to test its edge).

Our hominid ancestors deserve our respect for what they were capable of doing with stone. :-}

BTW, anyone here remember the "Aurora" brand snap-tight plastic models of the "Prehistoric Scenes" line from the 1970s? I loved putting together and painting those diorama sets, and loved the fact that they were all scaled to one another. Even though there was some "poetic license" involved in those models, they were still great learning and great fun. :-}

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 17:57:57 UTC | #867948

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 5 by Alan4discussion

Comment 2 by Vorlund

More than impressed, I'm bedazzled. As a blacksmith I consider myself to have some mastery of forming. I have tried in vain to knap flints in the Acheulean style and conclude it is bloody difficult and probably takes some years of regular practice to be able to produce more useful tools than piles of rubble.

I was watching a David Attenborough film on capuchin monkeys using a stone hammer and an anvil rock to crack palm nuts. Not only did they crack them, but they selected ripe ones and left them in the sun to dry and become more brittle before trying. It took the youngsters from infancy to about 8 years old to learn this skill, - including choosing a harder type of stone for the hammer stone..

The black-striped capuchin, Cebus libidinosus, also known as the bearded capuchin,2 is a capuchin monkey from South America. It was the first non-ape primate where tool usage was documented in the wild, as individuals have been seen cracking nuts by placing them on a stone "anvil" while hitting them with another large stone.

They also use other tools.

The tufted capuchin has been observed using containers to hold water, using sticks (to dig nuts, to dip for syrup, to catch ants, to reach food), using sponges to absorb juice, using stones as hammer and chisel to penetrate a barrier[11] and using stones as hammer and anvil to crack nuts.[12] While some of these tasks are relatively simple by cognitive standards (e.g. using a stick to catch ants), others, like cracking nuts with hammer and anvil are only exceeded in complexity by chimpanzees

...

Research in the wild has shown that capuchin tool use is every bit as extensive as in captivity with capuchins being observed using stones to dig holes to get at tubers, an activity previously only seen in humans.

..

In captivity, the tufted capuchin has been seen to manufacture stone tools that produced simple flakes and cores. Some of the capuchins even used these sharpened stones to cut (in a back-and-forth motion) barriers in order to reach food.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 18:12:01 UTC | #867956

neil pharr's Avatar Comment 6 by neil pharr

Amazing to think that our ancestor held this tool in his/her hand. We owe so much hommage to these brave ancestors who led to the path of Homo sapien. I believe their intelligence is under-estimated. I feel that they must have had a sense of self and a sense of wonder that was cruder than ours, but still very great. (for a great ape) :)

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 18:58:17 UTC | #867966

neil pharr's Avatar Comment 7 by neil pharr

Amazing to think that our ancestor held this tool in his/her hand. We owe so much hommage to these brave ancestors who led to the path of Homo sapien. I believe their intelligence is under-estimated. I feel that they must have had a sense of self and a sense of wonder that was cruder than ours, but still very great. (for a great ape) :)

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 18:58:37 UTC | #867967

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 8 by Neodarwinian

This find will bring out the paleoanthropological long knives out!

These guys always want earliest anything.Still, the oldest Acheulean tools found so far will indicate that older tools will be found and motivate someone to find them.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 21:38:04 UTC | #868000

mmurray's Avatar Comment 9 by mmurray

Comment 6 by neil pharr :

Amazing to think that our ancestor held this tool in his/her hand. We owe so much hommage to these brave ancestors who led to the path of Homo sapien. I believe their intelligence is under-estimated. I feel that they must have had a sense of self and a sense of wonder that was cruder than ours, but still very great. (for a great ape) :)

This is an interesting question. On the negative side I don't think we have discovered any sign of them using rituals like burying their dead.

Michael

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 21:59:14 UTC | #868009

delogren's Avatar Comment 10 by delogren

Not much different from a Clovis point...

--del

Wed, 07 Sep 2011 00:37:46 UTC | #868062

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 11 by DavidMcC

Comment 9 by mmurray

On the negative side I don't think we have discovered any sign of them using rituals like burying their dead.

Maybe they didn't need to. Scavengers would soon have found the body.

Wed, 07 Sep 2011 15:37:55 UTC | #868290