Week 4           Archaeology

Earliest tool use

Capuchin monkeys use rocks to crack nuts.

Chimps do the same and they also use small sticks to hunt, strip twigs to fish for termites, make leaf sponges to soak up honey, and many other tool-using behaviors. Gorillas and orangutans also use tools. It is hard to imagine that a bipedal ape with free hands would not have engaged in at least as much tool use, but we do not see evidence until about 2.5 million years ago. The trouble with behavior is that is doesn't fossilize well. Most of the tools used by non-human primates degrade (sticks and sponges) or would be unrecognizable as tools (un-worked rocks for cracking nuts. At 2.5 million years ago we start to see flaked stone tools in the archaeological record and we also start to see cut marks on animal bones. The earliest sone tools consist of bifacially flaked stones and retouched flakes.

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