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Stone tools drove human evolution, researchers say

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The thing about human evolution studies is that they usually devolve into a war of trivial explanations. Here’s another one, via Phys.org:

Combining the tools of psychology, evolutionary biology and archaeology, scientists have found compelling evidence for the co-evolution of early Stone Age slaughtering tools and our ability to communicate and teach, shedding new light on the power of human culture to shape evolution.

To be reported Jan. 13 in the journal Nature Communications, the study is the largest to date to look at gene-culture co-evolution in the context of prehistoric Oldowan tools, the oldest-known cutting devices. It suggests communication among our earliest ancestors may be more complex than previously thought, with teaching and perhaps even a primitive proto-language occurring some 1.8 million years ago.

Just about anything in nature will turn out to be more complex than previously thought by naturalists and Darwinians, so don’t stop the presses for this. We just hope they won’t try “reconstructing” the suggested language on evolutionary psychology principles.

“Our findings suggest that stone tools weren’t just a product of human evolution, but actually drove it as well, creating the evolutionary advantage necessary for the development of modern human communication and teaching,” said Thomas Morgan, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at UC Berkeley.

As a general rule, ignore any trivial, one-off explanation that does not explain why the same thing didn’t happen for the 98% similar-to-human chimpanzee who allegedly terrifies creationists.

Too bad this genuinely interesting stuff needs to be packaged in such a way as to pretend to provide a naturalist account of the origin of the human mind. It’s kind of like a built-in deformity.

See also: Human origins: The war of trivial explanations

and

Darwin’s “horrid doubt”: The mind

Hat tip: Timothy Kershner

4 Replies to “Stone tools drove human evolution, researchers say

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Tim the Tool Man, evidence of missing link:
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YQwYNca4iog

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    Since I accept Ann Gauger’s conclusions about the NON-evolution of humans (There has only ever been 1 species of homo sapiens. It appeared without any ancestors, and has continued unchanged for 1 million years…), all of the wild theories about things “driving” human evolution are nonsense.

    The person identified as “homo erectus” was a normal homo sapiens. They had all of the faculties and abilities that we have, and spent their afternoons telling each other myths and legends and war stories (A fairytale starts out “Once upon a time…”. A war story starts out “Now this is no sh*t…) just as we do.

    They thought it was wicked cool when somebody discovered how to cut things with sharp rocks, but no change in material culture has changed who humans are.

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Suggesting that weapons drove Evolution is as strong as the suggestion that it was tools that drove it.

    From sharpened rocks for conking heads to sharp rock on stick for jabbing at safer distance. Rock on stick balanced for throwing evolution evolution catapult & bow & sword evolution evolution gun & bomb evolution evolution.

    But guns and tools don’t evolve people, people do.

  4. 4
    Ragnar says:

    Language is extremely complex; there are 2 main theories on how they came about, according 2 linguists (and usually under the presumption of evolution): one, that all modern & extinct languages came from one common language conceived by humans in the prehistoric past, and two, that a set of root languages arose independently and branched out into the many language families we see today, each with an insurmountable barrier between them.
    The latter of which seems to be the case.
    And i laughed when i read this part in the article:

    “‘Our findings suggest that stone tools weren’t just a product of human evolution, but actually drove it as well, creating the evolutionary advantage necessary for the development of modern human communication and teaching,’ said Thomas Morgan, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at UC Berkeley.”

    This is like saying that “Bibedeebobadebo” will make a dang pumpkin chariot appear out of thin air!
    Evolution is such a joke 🙂

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