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.

Related Articles


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 December 19, 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 December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) — A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) — A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) — Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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