Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


At VICE: Our view of intelligent [human] life upended by tools find?

So it’s sort of like your great-uncle and aunt made the tools, not your great-grandparents. And that's supposed to make all the difference? Meanwhile, another "subhuman" candidate to scratch off the list. Read More ›

Homo erectus had language, says cognitive scientist

Everett certainly has a point. It is hard to imagine organizing the construction, launch, and navigation of such craft without language. How would an erectus get co-operation without explaining the idea? Read More ›

Dear Darwin, We have finally found an explanation for teaching! – Researchers

The problem that would be obvious to anyone but the researchers (apparently) is that everyone involved in the study knew what was going on in the big picture and that what they were doing didn't really matter. The opposite would be true of our ancestors. Read More ›

Cockatoos can learn to adjust tools

From ScienceDaily: Captive Goffins are capable of inventing and manipulating tools, even though they aren’t known to use tools habitually. The authors of the present study investigated two questions: do Goffins adjust tool properties to save effort, and if so, how accurately can they adjust tool dimensions for the task? The authors supplied six adult cockatoos with large cardboard sheets to tear into strips as tools for the testing apparatus: a food platform with a food reward set at varying distances (4-16cm) behind a small opening which also varied in width (1-2cm). They found that the Goffins were capable of adjusting the length of their cardboard strip tools to account for variations in food distance, making shorter tools when the Read More ›

Stone tools found in Saudi Arabia from 300,000 years ago

At the time, Saudi Arabia was a grassy plain with many lakes: Archaeologist Patrick Roberts of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and his colleagues recently discovered a handful of stone tools in a sandy layer of soil beneath the dry traces of a shallow Pleistocene lake at Ti’s al Ghadah, in the Nefud Desert of northern Saudi Arabia. The soil layer dated to between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago, and it also contained fossilized remains of grazing animals, water birds, and predators like hyena and jaguar. Many of the bones seem to bear the marks of butchering by tool-wielding hominins. Kiona N. Smith, “Archaeologists find 300, 000-year-old stone tools in Saudi Arabia” at Ars Technica On Read More ›

Dispute over recent find of tools on Madagascar from 10,500 ya

Earlier, we wrote about human habitation of Madagascar being pushed back 6000 years. Now that claim is disputed due to lack of evidence besides tools: “These finds of cut-marked bones seem to predate any evidence of humans. Not only is there an absence of human remains [from that time], but there is an absence of human artefacts.” Such artefacts should include tools large enough to butcher the giant birds. Aside from small tools, only a single undated axe has ever been found on Madagascar. Hansford stands by his team’s work. “This paper will undoubtedly cause some controversy, but it really is very strong evidence,” he says. Dyani Lewis, “Claim for early humans in Madagascar disputed” at Cosmos Magazine Well now, Read More ›