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Researchers: Humans traded with distant groups by 320,000 years ago

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human artifacts 320 kya/Human Origins Program, Smithsonian

From ScienceDaily:

Anthropologists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and an international team of collaborators have discovered that early humans in East Africa had — by about 320,000 years ago — begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age. These newly discovered activities approximately date to the oldest known fossil record of Homo sapiens and occur tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence has shown in eastern Africa. These behaviors, which are characteristic of humans who lived during the Middle Stone Age, replaced technologies and ways of life that had been in place for hundreds of thousands of years. Paper. (paywall) – Richard Potts, Anna K. Behrensmeyer, J. Tyler Faith, Christian A. Tryon, Alison S. Brooks, John E. Yellen, Alan L. Deino, Rahab Kinyanjui, Jennifer B. Clark, Catherine Haradon, Naomi E. Levin, Hanneke J. M. Meijer, Elizabeth G. Veatch, R. Bernhart Owen, Robin W. Renaut. Environmental dynamics during the onset of the Middle Stone Age in eastern Africa. Science, 2018 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2200 More.

Of course, all this means that a long, slow, Darwinian evolution of human consciousness is even less likely.

See also: Larry Moran asks whether evolutionary psychology is a “deeply flawed” enterprise

and

How did Neanderthal Man stop being so stupid?

4 Replies to “Researchers: Humans traded with distant groups by 320,000 years ago

  1. 1
    awstar says:

    early humans in East Africa had — by about 320,000 years ago — begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age.

    They must have found some credit card receipts laying around upon which they could base their inference regarding the date.

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    What historians and archeologists have concluded about things like the trading of amber from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean is that there were typically a LONG series of trades, with the product being moved perhaps 20 or 30 miles with each trade.

    That is, there was no organized trading organization that packed up a load of stuff in prehistoric Denmark and carried it straight to Rome. The general assumption is that ALL nifty stuff was traded multiple times before it finally wound up in somebody’s grave goods.

    But the FACT that there was an informal, disorganized system of trade means that humans knew about the guys on the other side of the hill. They might not have believed tall tales of strange lands where the water actually FROZE in winter, but they could hold in their hands stuff that was completely unknown locally.

  3. 3
    awstar says:

    But the FACT that there was an informal, disorganized system of trade means that humans knew about the guys on the other side of the hill.

    or, alternatively, some of these fancy things that they keep finding in graves around the world were brought into Africa (or where ever) back when the people group first moved out of Babylon and into Africa (or where ever). And that is where they devolved into a less and less sophisticated and into a more and more crude manner of living.

    Can this alternative explanation be rejected by the evidence alone — without assigning any presuppositional dates or other philosophical assumptions to the artifacts?

  4. 4
    tommy hall says:

    How could anyone buy these ridiculously old dates? These Neanderthals were just ancient humans. We are the ones who’ve changed. They were the prototype; we are the mutated freaks with funny round heads brought about by farming and soft foods just a few thousand years ago. Neanderthals lived in teepee like structures, wore feathers on their heads, buried their dead, danced, sang, probably threw spears and shot a bow and arrow — basically just carried on like Indians. They bred with “modern” humans because they were the same species, er, kind as modern humans. Then the continents separated, leaving “Indians” living on both sides of the ocean. European Indians were called “Neanderthals.” Their Central American counterparts can be found at Hueyatlaco.

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