For those of you keeping up with this blog, I recently wrote about the discovery of fire being controlled by hominins 1 million years ago, ~700,000 years earlier than previously thought. For those of you not keeping up (or simply fancy a refresher), here is
Food sharing is an important human behaviour that enables our modern, complex society to function as it does. Since food is distributed throughout the group everyone does not have to spend their time farming or hunting. This frees up their time to do other things,
Tool use is one of humanity’s greatest strengths. Conventional wisdom says it developed ~2.6 million years ago but some bones with cutmarks may be even older than that.
Chimps utilise a wide range of tools but they are all made of natural materials which decay. They cleverly alter twigs to turn them into termite fishing sticks, then (surprise surprise) they use them to fish for termites. It’s rather clever behaviour and provides interesting
Australopithecus afarensis, of which AL-288-1* was a member, lived between 3.9-2.9 million years ago and was fairly adept at walking upright. Whilst not as good at being bipedal as later species, such as Homo sapiens, they could still walk well. However, whilst their anatomy was
The Ancient Egyptians created a prosthetic toe 3,000 years ago. It was functional. Damage to the toe indicates it was walked on.
In the stereotypical view of prehistory, fire is important. We imagine caveman and cavewoman gathering around a cavefire to heat their cavehouse. In our minds eye fire was a key part of prehistoric life and this mental image is surprisingly close to the truth. Fire
Addendum: The first version of this post suggested neanderthals wore shoes. This is not the case. Humans have more physical adaptations than we give them credit for. Although we often think of ourselves as reliant upon technology and rather pedestrian compared to the rest of
The human family tree is surprisingly bushy. Only a few thousand years ago we had Homo sapiens, H. neanderthalensis, H. floresiensis and the Denisovans all living side by side. And only a few million years before that we had several species of Australopithecus, Paranthropus and
Oh bipedalism, where would we be without you? A lot closer to the ground, that’s for sure; and probably far from the civilisation we find ourselves in. After all, it was walking purely on our hind limbs that freed up our hands and enabled them