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
Darwin’s “horrid doubt”: The mind
Hat tip: Timothy Kershner