Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cutting edge training developed the human brain 80,000 years ago

Date:
June 22, 2011
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
Advanced crafting of stone spearheads contributed to the development of new ways of human thinking and behaving. The technology took a long time to acquire, required step by step planning and increased social interaction across the generations. This led to the human brain developing new abilities, according to archeologists.

Cave in South Africa where excavations have taken place.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lund University

Advanced crafting of stone spearheads contributed to the development of new ways of human thinking and behaving, according to new findings by archaeologists from Lund University. The technology took a long time to acquire, required step by step planning and increased social interaction across the generations. This led to the human brain developing new abilities.

Some 200,000 years ago, small groups of people wandered across Africa, looking anatomically much like present-day humans, but not thinking the way we do today. Studies of fossils and the rate of mutations in DNA show that the human species to which we all belong -- Homo sapiens sapiens -- has existed for 200,000 years.

But the archaeological research of recent years has shown that, even though the most ancient traces of modern humans are 200,000 years old, the development of modern cognitive behaviour is probably much younger. For about 100,000 years, there were people who looked like us, but who were cognitively and socially very different from us.

It is precisely that period of transformation that the researchers at Lund University in Sweden have studied. In the next issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, they present new findings on the early modern humans that existed in what is now South Africa, approximately 80,000 years ago.

The findings show that people at that time used advanced technology for the production of spearheads and that the complicated crafting process likely developed the working memory and social life of humans.

"When the technology was passed from one generation to the next, from adults to children, it became part of a cultural learning process which created a socially more advanced society than before. This affected the development of the human brain and cognitive ability," says Anders Hφgberg, PhD.

The technology led to increased social interaction within and across the generations. This happened because the crafting of stone spearheads took a long time to learn and required a lot of knowledge, both theoretical and practical. Producing a stone spearhead also required the ability to plan in several stages. This social learning contributed to the subsequent development of early modern humans' cognitive ability to express symbolism and abstract thoughts through their material culture, for example in the form of decorated objects.

"The excavations have been carried out in a small cave; the location we have studied is called Hollow Rock Shelter and lies 250 km north of Cape Town. We are cooperating with the University of Cape Town and the research we have just published is part of a larger research project on this location," says Professor Lars Larsson.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anders Hφgberg, Lars Larsson. Lithic technology and behavioural modernity: New results from the Still Bay site, Hollow Rock Shelter, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2011.02.006

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Cutting edge training developed the human brain 80,000 years ago." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621093308.htm>.
Lund University. (2011, June 22). Cutting edge training developed the human brain 80,000 years ago. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621093308.htm
Lund University. "Cutting edge training developed the human brain 80,000 years ago." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621093308.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) — A Spanish cannon used in the Battle of New Orleans and weighing nearly 3 tons was lowered Tuesday by pulleys, chains and muscle onto a new gun carriage like one that might have held it once aboard a navy ship. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) — A 2,000 year-old Pre-Inca cloak that is believed to represent an agricultural calendar of the Paracas culture is on display in Lima. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — Considered lost for over two centuries, the original manuscript of one of the most famous works of Mozart's Sonata in A major has been uncovered in a library in Budapest. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins