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The oldest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture comes from Gona (Ethiopia) and dates to between 2.6 and 2.5 million years (Myr) ago 1 . At the nearby Bouri site several cut-marked bones also show stone tool use approximately 2.5 Myr ago 2 . Here we report stone-tool-inflicted marks on bones found during recent survey work in Dikika, Ethiopia, a research area close to Gona and Bouri. On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access. The bones derive from the Sidi Hakoma Member of the Hadar Formation. Established 40 Ar– 39 Ar dates on the tuffs that bracket this member constrain the finds to between 3.42 and 3.24 Myrago, and stratigraphic scaling between these units and other geological evidence indicate that they are older than 3.39 Myr ago. Our discovery extends by approximately 800,000 years the antiquity of stone tools and of stone-tool-assisted consumption of ungulates by hominins; furthermore, this behaviour can now be attributed to Australopithecus afarensis.
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LETTERS
Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of
animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika,
Ethiopia
Shannon P. McPherron
1
, Zeresenay Alemseged
2
, Curtis W. Marean
3
, Jonathan G. Wynn
4
, Denne
´Reed
5
,
Denis Geraads
6
, Rene
´Bobe
7
& Hamdallah A. Be
´arat
8
The oldest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture comes from
Gona (Ethiopia) and dates to between 2.6 and 2.5 million years
(Myr) ago
1
. At the nearby Bouri site several cut-marked bones also
show stone tool use approximately 2.5 Myr ago
2
.Here we report
stone-tool-inflicted marks on bones found during recent survey
work in Dikika, Ethiopia, a research area close to Gona and
Bouri. On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental
scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show un-
ambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion
marks for marrow access. The bones derive from the Sidi Hakoma
Member of the Hadar Formation. Established
40
Ar–
39
Ar dates on
the tuffs that bracket this member constrain the finds to between
3.42 and 3.24 Myr ago, and stratigraphicscaling between these units
and other geological evidence indicate that they are older than
3.39 Myr ago. Our discovery extends by approximately 800,000
years the antiquity of stone tools and of stone-tool-assisted con-
sumption of ungulates by hominins; furthermore, this behaviour
can now be attributed to Australopithecus afarensis.
The Dikika Research Project area is located in the Lower Awash
Valley (Ethiopia) and is bordered on the north by Gona and Hadar
and on the south by the Middle Awash research areas (Fig. 1). Work
there (led by Z.A.) began in 1999 and has focused on survey in Hadar
(.3.8 to 2.9 Myr ago) and Busidima Formation (2.7 to ,0.6 Myr ago)
deposits, both of which are exposed in their entirety within the project
area
3,4
. This work has resulted in the discovery of a diverse and well
preserved fauna, the discovery of several hominin fossils including a
nearly complete juvenile Australopithecus afarensis (DIK-1-1) and a
complete definition of the hominin-bearing Hadar Formation
3–6
.
In January 2009, the Dikika Research Project systematically col-
lected fossils from localities just opposite the DIK-1 locality in the
Andedo drainage, which predominantly exposes the Sidi Hakoma
(SH) Member of the Hadar Formation (3.42–3.24 Myr ago; Fig. 1).
Archaeological survey was conducted simultaneously in these same
localities. In the course of this work, four fossils were identified with
surface modifications which, based on field observations, resembled
stone-tool cut marks
7
. These fossils were subsequently studied with
optical and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM)
(see Methods and Supplementary Information). Secondary electron
imaging (SEI) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrometry data
show that the marks on two of these fossils (DIK-55-2 and DIK-55-3)
formed before fossilization. Optical and ESEM observations show
that the marks lack the morphology indicative of trampling and
biochemical marks, and that these two specimens have modifications
clearly indicative of stone tool use, including cutting and percussion.
Both bones were found on the surface at the same locality: DIK-55.
Stratigraphically this locality, an area of approximately 25 m 350 m,
can be placed into the section described previously for the nearby
DIK-1 locality. It is below a low ridge that exposes only the lowermost
sediments of the SH Member and below the level of a limestone
marker (SH-lm) with a stratigraphically scaled age of 3.39 Myr ago,
providing a minimum age for the site (Fig. 1 and Supplementary
Information). Nowhere in the entire Andedo drainage are sediments
above the lacustrine Triple Tuff 4 (TT-4) marker (3.24 Myr ago)
exposed, providing a minimum age for the entire section. Specimen
DIK-55-2 was found on the slope below the SH-lm marker and
DIK-55-3 was found on the flats just in front of this slope. Fossils from
this locality lack adhering matrix, indicating that they derive from a
,1.5-m-thick sand bed that outcrops here. This sand is unique com-
pared to many of the fossil-bearing sands of the SH Member (such as
at DIK-1) in that it is not strongly cemented and thus its fossils lack
adhering matrix.
DIK-55-2 (Fig. 2 and Supplementary Information) is a right rib
fragment of a large ungulate, probably size 4 (cow-sized) or larger.
Marks A1 and A2 are perpendicular to the cortical surface, V-shaped
in cross-section with internal microstriations and diagnosed as high-
confidence stone-tool cut marks. Mark B is a more obliquely oriented
mark that shaves off the bone surface within which are microstria-
tions, all consistent with a high-confidence stone-tool-inflicted mark
from cutting, scraping and/or percussion. An indentation (mark C)
with microstriations and crushing of the bone surface is a high-con-
fidence hammerstone percussion mark described in Supplementary
Information.
DIK-55-3 (Fig. 3 and Supplementary Information) is a femur shaft
fragment of a size 2 (goat-sized) young bovid. The surface is densely
marked (Fig. 3a). Mark A is perpendicular to the cortical surface and
has clear microstriations running out one end (Fig. 3b, c), diagnosed
as a high-confidence cut mark. Mark D (Fig. 3d–f) is a dense cluster.
One prominent mark within D (Fig. 3d) has crushing of the bone
surface with microstriations and is diagnosed as a high-confidence
percussion mark. Mark E (Fig. 3g, h) is obliquely oriented, shaves off
surface bone, has microstriations and a shouldered edge highly con-
sistent with a stone-tool cut mark. Marks H1 and H2 overlap. H1 has
clear microstriations, is associated with the broken edge of the bone
and swirls in a way typical of a percussion mark. H2 shaves off bone
1
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, DeutscherPlatz 6, Leipzig 04103, Germany.
2
Department of Anthropology, California Academy
of Sciences, 55 Concourse Drive, San Francisco, California 94118, USA.
3
Institute of Human Origins, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, PO Box 872402, Arizona State
University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-2402, USA.
4
Department of Geology, University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Ave, SCA 528, Tampa, Florida 33620, USA.
5
University of Texas at
Austin, Department of Anthropology, 1 University Station C3200, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
6
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UPR 2147, 44 Rue de l’Amiral Mouchez,
Paris 75014, France.
7
Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.
8
School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, Ira A. Fulton Schools
of Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-6106, USA.
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surface and has clear microstriations, consistent with stone-tool cut
marks and a scraping motion. DIK-55-3 has other high-confidence
stone-tool-inflicted marks, and there is at least one mark (mark I) of
uncertain agency (Supplementary Information). This specimen does
not have any notches of the type that are sometimes associated with
hammerstone percussion on long bones
8–10
, but this may be owing to
post-depositional breakage of the edges that removed such notches.
The cut marks demonstrate hominin use of sharp-edged stone to
remove flesh from the femur and rib. The location and density of the
marks on the femur indicate that flesh was rather widely spread on
the surface, although it is possible that there could have been isolated
patches of flesh. The percussion marks on the femur demonstrate
hominin use of a blunt stone to strike the bone, probably to gain
access to the marrow. The external surfaces of ribs have thin sheaths
of flesh, so the scraping marks on the fossil rib suggest stripping off of
these sheaths.
The presence of stone-tool-modified bones and by implication the
use of stone tools at Dikika by 3.39 Myr ago greatly increases the
known antiquity of this behaviour. The earliest demonstration of
stone tool production known thus far is after 2.6 Myr ago at several
localities in Ethiopia and Kenya
1,11–14
. It is not possible to demon-
strate from the modified bones whether the stone tools were knapped
for this purpose or whether naturally occurring sharp-edged stones
were collected and used. No stone artefacts or sharp-edged stones
were found in association with the bones at DIK-55. However, stone
tool production and consequently archaeological accumulations are
not expected at this locality given the sedimentary environment
characterized by the palaeo-Awash River emptying into a nearby
lake
3,4
. In this relatively low-energy depositional environment, clasts
suitable for stone tool production are not present (few particles larger
than fine gravel, 8 mm diameter). Within the exposed SH Member, the
distance from DIK-55 to cobble-sized raw materials (.64 mm) is
,6 km (at Gorgore; Fig. 1). Thus, in this instance the absence of
evidence for stone tool production in the immediate vicinity of the
cut-marked bones may reflect landscape-level rawmaterial constraints.
The bones presented here are the earliest evidence for meat and
marrow consumption in the hominin lineage, pre-dating the known
evidence by over 800 kyr
2
. Pending new discoveries, the only hominin
species present in the Lower Awash Valley at 3.39 Myr ago to which
we can associate this tool use is A.afarensis
5,15
. Whether A. afarensis
a
bc
TT4
TT4
TT4
SHT
SHT
SHT
SHT
SHT
SHT
Andedo
Simbledere
Awash
Shibele
Gango Akidora
Ilanle
Simbledere Graben
54
48
59
4144
43
42
2
155
0 0.5 10.25 km
A
w
a
s
h
R
.
Gona
Hadar Ledi-Geraru
Dikika
DIK-1
DIK-55
Gorgore
DIK-2
40°400E40°340E
11°8
0
N11°4
0
N
02.551.25 km
~ Mam_b: 3.32 Myr ago
~ KMB: 3.30 Myr ago
SH-lm: 3.39 Myr ago
TT-4: 3.24 ± 0.01 Myr ago
SHT: 3.42 ± 0.03 Myr ago
B-g: 3.42 Myr ago
10 m
DIK-1
Andedo
SH-o: 3.24 Myr ago
SH-g: 3.30 Myr ago
DIK-55: 3.41 Myr ago
Elevation
Fossil localities
Geological sections
Geological markers
Sidi Hakoma Tuff
Triple Tuff 4
Fault (mapped)
Fault (inferred)
Monocline
Permanent rivers
Seasonal streams
Rivers
1
Ethiopia
High
:
720m
Low
:
440m
Figure 1
|
Geographic and stratigraphic location of DIK-55. a, Map of a
portion of the Dikika Research Project area showing DIK-55 (modified bone
locality), DIK-1 and DIK-2 (hominin localities), and relevant faults and
sections. b, Detailed map showing the position of the DIK-55 and
surrounding palaeontological localities. c, A composite stratigraphic column
of the Andedo drainage and surrounding Simbledere region showing the
position of the modified bones at DIK-55. Stratigraphic scaling of marker
units (SH-o, SH-g, SH-lm and B-g) are based on
40
Ar–
39
Ar ages of the Sidi
Hakoma Tuff (SHT) and TT-4 recalibrated to reflect an updated age of the
Fish Canyon Sanidine standard
28
. Stratigraphic scaling between these two
radiometrically dated tuffs provides a sedimentation rate of 427.8 m Myr
21
,
which is applied to the ages of the Basal gastropodite (B-g), Sidi Hakoma
limestone (SH-lm), DIK-1 excavation, Sidi Hakoma gastropodite (SH-g)
and Sidi Hakoma ostracodite (SH-o). These stratigraphically scaled ages are
consistent with a correlation to the position of the Kada Damoumou Basalt
,3.3 Myr ago and the lowermost boundary of the Mammoth
palaeomagnetic subchron within the Gauss chron (Mam_b.; chron 2An.2r at
3.319 Myr ago
29
; both are recorded elsewhere in the Hadar Formation
28,30
).
LETTERS NATURE
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also produced stone tools remains to be demonstrated, but the
DIK-55 finds may fit with the view that stone tool production pre-
dates the earliest known archaeological sites and was initially of low
intensity (one-to-a-few flakes removed per nodule) and distributed
in extremely low density scatters across the landscape such that its
archaeological visibility is quite low
16
. The evidence presented here
offers a first insight into an early phase of stone tool use in hominin
evolution that will improve our understanding of how this type of
behaviour originated and developed into later, well recognized, stone
tool production technologies.
METHODS SUMMARY
Bone surfaces were examined under 38–80 magnifications with adjustable
incident light from a bifurcated light source. ESEM was used to further docu-
ment marks and to collect SEI/EDX data (see below) but was not needed for
diagnosis and identification. Here (and in Supplementary Information) the
nested terminology of Gifford-Gonzalez
17
is used to draw inferential distinctions
between the actors responsible for producing the marks, the effectors used to
make the marks and causal action. A mark is considered high confidence in its
diagnosis to effector if it has all the criteria defined in the literature for that mark.
A distinction is made in mark diagnoses between general (stone tool, tooth, or
unidentifiable) and specific (cut mark versus percussion mark), with the caveat
that specific identifications are more tenuous given the overlap between per-
cussive and cutting damage indicated by these specimens.
2 cm
Ma rk A
Mark G1
Ma rk D
Mark H1
Mark H2
Ma rk E
Mark A Mark D
Mark G1
Mark H Mark E
a
bc
d
e
g
f
h
i
1 mm
1 mm
1 mm
1 mm
1 mm
Figure 3
|
Stone-tool-inflicted marks on DIK-55-3, a femur shaft of a size 2
young bovid. a, The exterior surface of DIK-55-3. The bone is oriented such
that the proximal end is to the right. Dashed rule, 4 cm. The location of
each of the surface marks is shown in close-up in bi.b, Mark A (high-
confidence stone-tool-inflicted mark) under low-power optical
magnification shows clear microstriations indicative of cutting with a stone
tool; the yellow rectangle shows the position of c.c, ESEM image further
documenting microstriations. d, Mark G1 leading into the large area of
clustered damage designated mark D; D shows both stone-tool percussion
damage (shown in yellow rectangle that demarcates f) and recurrent cutting
by a stone tool. e, Continuation of mark D showing high-confidence stone-
tool-inflicted marks. f, ESEM image showing microstriations indicative of
stone tool action. g, ESEM image of the area indicated by the rectangle in hof
mark E showing microstriations indicative of stone tool action. c,f,g, Scale
bars, 100 mm. h, Mark E (high-confidence stone-tool-inflicted mark) under
low-power optical magnification possibly produced by a slicing motion from
the distal end. i, Marks H1 and H2 under low-power magnification, both
high-confidence stone-tool-inflicted marks; H1 is probably a percussion
mark and H2 is probably a cut mark. bi, The direction of the femur head is
indicated by the black arrows on the scale, which is 5 mm. See
Supplementary Information for marks B, C, F and I, not shown here.
a
b
de
c
Mark A1 and A2
Mark A1
Mark B
Mark A2
Mark B
1 mm
Mark C
2 cm
1 mm
Figure 2
|
Stone-tool-inflicted marks on DIK55-2, a rib of a probably size 4
or larger ungulate. a, The exterior surface of DIK-55-2, and the location of
each of the surface marks. The rib is oriented such that the rib head (broken
off) would be to the left. Dashed rule, 4 cm. b, Marks A1 and A2 (high-
confidence stone-tool cut marks) under low-power optical magnification;
the yellow rectangle demarcates c. Scale bar, 5 mm. c, ESEM image showing
microstriations indicative of cutting with a stone tool. Scale bar, 100 mm.
d, Mark B (high-confidence stone-tool-inflicted mark) under low-power
optical magnification, indicative of a cutting and scraping action or
percussion; the yellow rectangle demarcates e. Scale bar, 5 mm. e, ESEM
image showing microstriations indicative of stone tool action. Scale bar,
500 mm. be, The direction of the rib head is indicated by the black arrows.
See Supplementary Information for the details of mark C.
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Modern collection damage was assessed visually and chemically. The patina
inside the surface marks resembles the surface patina and not the lighter colour
of the interior fossil bone made visible by some modern damage on the ends. The
elemental composition, measured with EDX spectrometry, of the marks and
adjacent surfaces indicates that fossilization occurred after mark formation
(Supplementary Information). EDX spectrometry was also applied to a rock
fragment, probably of igneous origin, embedded in one mark (Supplementary
Information). The marks were assessed for criteria described as indicative of
biochemical damage
18,19
and of trampling
20,21
and found to lack key criteria
(Supplementary Information). Finally, we used well known and described mor-
phological criteria
9,18,19,22–27
to distinguish between cut marks, percussion marks
and tooth marks. Further comparisons were made to experimentally generated
stone cut-marked, percussion-marked and carnivore-tooth-marked com-
parative specimens. Identifications were blind tested for correspondence
between three experienced taphonomists and zooarchaeologists who examined
the specimens under the same light-microscope conditions. The results showed a
high correspondence and agreement that most marks were stone-tool inflicted
(Supplementary Information).
Received 9 April; accepted 1 June 2010.
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Supplementary Information is linked to the online version of the paper at
www.nature.com/nature.
Acknowledgements We thank the Authority for Research and Conservation of
Cultural Heritage, the National Museum of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Tourism and
Culture and the Afar regional government for permits and support; C. Mesfin,
Z. Bedaso, T. Gebreselassie, Mesfin Mekonnen, H. Defar, A. Zerihun, G. Senbeto,
Mogues Mekonnen, W. Aberra, T. Yifru and the people of the Dikika area for field
assistance. We also thank the administration of Adaytu town and members of the
Ethiopian armed forces. Funds for the 2009 field season were provided by the
California Academy of Sciences. Travel expenses for D.G., S.P.M., D.R. and J.G.W.
were covered by their respective institutions. C.W.M. and H.A.B. acknowledge the
assistance of the research professionals in the John M. Cowley Center for High
Resolution Electron Microscopy, LE-CSSS, ASU in conducting the ESEM imaging,
and J. Thompson and S. Lansing for participating in the blind test. Z.A. thanks
P. Mollard and K. Berge for assistance during fieldwork preparations.
Author Contributions S.P.M. is the project archaeologist. Z.A. is the head of the
project and palaeoanthropologist. C.W.M. described and analysed the fossil bone
specimens and surface modifications. J.G.W. is the project geologist. Fauna were
analysed by Z.A., D.R. (micromammals and GIS), D.G. (biostratigraphy), R.B.
(palaeoenvironments). H.A.B. conducted the ESEM/SEI/EDX study. All authors
contributed to the writing of this paper.
Author Information Reprints and permissions information is available at
www.nature.com/reprints. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Readers are welcome to comment on the online version of this article at
www.nature.com/nature. Correspondence and requests for materials should be
addressed to S.P.M. (mcpherron@eva.mpg.de).
LETTERS NATURE
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... Many derived anatomical aspects of hominin hands are argued to have been adaptations for tool use (Marzke and Shackley, 1986;Marzke, 1992;Marzke and Marzke, 2000;Kivell et al., 2011;Skinner et al., 2015;Key et al., 2020) and appear in the fossil record before the earliest archaeological evidence of stone tool production. In addition, cut marked animal bones from Dikika (Ethiopia), dating to 3.39 Ma, highlight the possibility that hominins may have used naturally occurring sharp-edged stones to facilitate foraging (McPherron, 2010;Dominguez-Rodrigo et al., 2011). Thus, current advances in Pliocene archaeological research are pushing back the chronological range of tool use and toolmaking into a period before the emergence of the genus Homo (Villmoare et al., 2015). ...
... Flake technology, however, need not have emerged as a single event, and instead may have been discovered and lost multiple times before prevailing as a hominin evolutionary adaptation (de la Torre, 2019). The use of naturally sharp-edged stones (McPherron, 2010;Thompson et al., 2011) or bone flakes (Gürbüz and Lycett, 2021) for cutting may have been an important component of tool use for early hominins and may have predated intentional flake production. In these cases, accidentally detached flakes from unrelated percussive activities may have represented a novel source of available sharp cutting edges. ...
Article
When and how human ancestors first used tools remains unknown, despite intense research into the origins of technology. It has been hypothesized that the evolutionary roots of stone flake technology has its origin in percussive behavior. Before intentional stone flaking, hominins potentially engaged in various percussive behaviors resulting in accidental flake detachments. We refer to this scenario as the 'by-product hypothesis.' In this scenario, repeated detachments of sharp stone fragments eventually resulted in intentional flake production. Here, we tested the circumstances of accidental flake production as a by-product of percussive foraging in wild capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) from Brazil, the only nonhuman primate known to habitually produce sharp-edged flakes through a percussive behavior. We conducted field experiments where we tested the potential for accidental flake production during nut cracking. We provided three different types of stone with varied material properties as anvils to assess the circumstances in which accidental production of sharp-edged flakes occurs during nut cracking. A further freehand knapping experiment, with the raw material that exhibited accidental flake detachments, allows a direct comparison of flakes that have been intentionally produced by an experienced knapper and flakes produced during nut cracking by capuchin monkeys. Our results show that raw material quality and morphology significantly affect the rate of sharp-edged flake production as well as the resulting lithic signature of this behavior. In addition, accidental flakes produced during capuchin nut cracking on highly isotropic raw material are similar in many respects to intentionally produced flakes by a human knapper. Our field experiments highlight the fact that nut-cracking behavior can lead to the unintentional production of substantial quantities of sharp-edged flakes and therefore supports the 'by-product hypothesis' as a potential mechanism for the emergence of hominin flake technology.
... If philosophy is a consolation and religion an opiate, then it is possible that culture evolved, at least in part, to heal our overgrown brains. This does not negate the more apparent boons of culture for humans and human societies; in the case of tool use, for example, humans have put culture to biologically useful ends such as hunting (Sahle et al., 2013) and nutrient extraction (McPherron et al., 2010) since our lineage split from our chimpanzee and bonobo cousins. Less apparent, however, are the myriad other battles that we wage within our own minds-battles that are no less reproductively pivotal and in which culture is an irreplaceable ally. ...
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The current article advances the hypothesis that creative culture evolved, in part, to allay the costs of the overgrown human brain and the cognitive integration limit that it imposes. Specific features can be expected among cultural elements best suited to allaying the integration limit and also among the neurocognitive mechanisms that might undergird these cultural effects. Music, visual art, and meditation are used as examples to illustrate how culture helps to bridge or sidestep the integration limit. Tiered religious, philosophical, and psychological concepts are considered in light of their reflection of the tiered process of cognitive integration. The link between creativity and mental illness is offered as additional support for the role of cognitive disconnection as a wellspring of cultural creativity, and I propose that this link can be harnessed in defense of neurodiversity. Developmental and evolutionary implications of the integration limit are discussed.
... More than 2.5 mya (Bunn 1981;Potts and Shipman 1981;Domínguez-Rodrigo et al. 2005), and possibly as early as 3.3 mya (McPherron et al. 2010), cut marks found on fossil faunal assemblages attest to the hunting and confrontational scavenging of large herbivores by African hominids (Domínguez-Rodrigo and Pickering 2003;cf. O'Connell et al. 2002). ...
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In recent years, new evidence for the early use of plant foods has challenged the stereotype of the meat-eating Paleolithic. Whilst often making up the smaller component of the diet, plant foods are key to hominin diets, carbohydrates especially providing an efficient energy resource. This paper reviews the current evidence for the role of plant foods in the evolution and dispersal of early modern humans and our closest ancestors, with a focus on new evidence for early diet from Island Southeast Asia, Australia and New Guinea. It demonstrates the importance of plant foods and their processing, to the dietary flexibility and adaptive capacity of our species.
... Hunting has been an integral aspect of human evolution and has co-evolved with human tooluse for hundreds of thousands of years [1][2][3]. Over this time, humans have continuously innovated their hunting techniques and technologies. ...
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Hunting is a prominent feature of many human societies. Advancements in hunting technologies can challenge the ethics and sustainability of hunting globally. We investigated the efficacy of an electronic acoustic lure (‘quail caller’), in attracting the otherwise difficult-to hunt stubble quail Coturnix pectoralis in Victoria, Australia. Using distance sampling, the density and abundance of stubble quail was estimated at 79 sites across a range of habitat types in an agricultural setting, each with an active ‘quail caller’ station continuously broadcasting for 48 hours, and a control station (no broadcast). Quail detectability at the active stations (62.9%) far exceeded that at control stations (6.3%). Most (57%) detections occurred within 30 m of active ‘quail callers’. Stubble quail relative abundance was substantially greater when ‘quail callers’ were broadcasting. Cameras mounted near ‘quail callers’ identified the predatory red fox as a non-target predator, although rates of attraction appear similar between active and control sites. ‘Quail callers’ are highly effective at attracting stubble quail and concentrating them to a known area, raising questions in relation to sustainable hunting practices, indirect effects, and ethical implications. ‘Quail callers’ do, however, also offer a tool for estimating quail abundance and developing more accurate population size estimates.
... TRAMPLING (fig. 10) Las marcas de trampling también llamadas marcas de pisoteo son un tipo de alteraciones de morfología parecida a las marcas de corte, lo cual en ocasiones puede conducir a identificaciones problemáticas sujetas a equifinalidad (McPherron et al. 2010;Thompson et al. 2015;Sahle et al. 2017). La problemática que entrañan estas alteraciones ya fue planteada desde hace muchos años por diversos investigadores (Fiorillo 1984;Behrensmeyer et al. 1986;Olsen y Shipman 1988), y vienen a destacar el parecido que tienen con las marcas de corte. ...
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Nuevas tecnologías aplicadas a la tafonomía: aportaciones desde las nUnevas técnicas de reconstrucción tridimensional de alteraciones óseas New TechNologies applied To TaphoNomy: coNTribuTioNs of New TechNiques iN Three-dimeNsioNal recoNsTrucTioN of boNe alTeraTioNs Since the publication of M. Pérez Ripoll's book titled Los Mamíferos del Yacimiento Musteriense de Cova Negra (Játiva, Valencia) in 1977, the field of taphonomy has come a long way. In recent years taphonomic analyses have been growing in importance , with more sites including the work of specialists in this field for different topics of investigation. Here, in tribute to the work of Pérez Ripoll, we present a brief overview of the most recent advances in taphonomic research applied to the Palaeolithic era of the Iberian Peninsula, incorporating new technologies that contribute greatly to solving specific taphonomic questions. Through these advances we present means of obtaining sufficient resolution for the identification of raw materials and tool types used to process animal carcasses, as well as the classification of carnivore agencies through the morphology of their tooth marks and the differentiation between naturally and anthropically produced microscopic traces.
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Nitrogen isotopes are widely used to study the trophic position of animals in modern food webs, however, their application in the fossil record is severely limited by degradation of organic material during fossilization. In this study, we show that the nitrogen isotopic composition of organic matter preserved in mammalian tooth enamel (δ15Nenamel) records diet and trophic position in modern and fossil ecosystems. The δ15Nenamel of modern African mammals shows a trophic enrichment of 3.7 ‰ between herbivores and carnivores, as well as a strong positive correlation between δ15Nenamel and δ15Nbone-collagen values from the same individuals. δ15Nenamel values of Late Pleistocene fossil teeth record expected dietary patterns, despite complete diagenetic loss of collagen in the same specimens. We demonstrate that δ15Nenamel represents a powerful new paleodietary proxy that could help delineate major dietary transitions in ancient vertebrate lineages, such as the onset and intensification of animal resource use in early hominins.
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Whether scavenging or hunting, the consumption of large mammals is very prominent in the history of humankind. During the Lower Palaeolithic period, the abundance of large cutting tools indicated increased meat consumption. Evidence has demonstrated this at various African and European sites where direct links between lithic and faunal assemblages have been made, i.e., cut-marked bones and use-wear studies. In the Indian Subcontinent, there is a lack of direct evidence on animal remains in archaeological contexts (with one exception); however, there are numerous sites where animal fossils and lithic artefacts occur in shared contextual associations. The present paper is concerned with the relationships between the lithic and faunal assemblages in archaeological contexts, particularly the occurrence of bifaces and large mammalian fossils in Lower Palaeolithic assemblages with specific reference to the central Indian zone. Without the confirmation of anthropogenic signatures on Pleistocene faunal remains, it isn't easy to assess whether a particular assemblage has the contemporaneous deposition of the two datasets or not. Here, we present a review of archaeological and faunal records in the central Narmada Valley and explore the possible associative evidence between human-animal interactions.
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Some researchers using traditional taphonomic criteria (groove shape and presence/absence of microstriations) have cast some doubts about the potential equifinality presented by crocodile tooth marks and stone tool butchery cut marks. Other researchers have argued that multivariate methods can efficiently separate both types of marks. Differentiating both taphonomic agents is crucial for determining the earliest evidence of carcass processing by hominins. Here, we use an updated machine learning approach (discarding artificially bootstrapping the original imbalanced samples) to show that microscopic features shaped as categorical variables, corresponding to intrinsic properties of mark structure, can accurately discriminate both types of bone modifications. We also implement new deep-learning methods that objectively achieve the highest accuracy in differentiating cut marks from crocodile tooth scores (99% of testing sets). The present study shows that there are precise ways of differentiating both taphonomic agents, and this invites taphonomists to apply them to controversial paleontological and archaeological specimens.
Chapter
Humans evolved in the dynamic landscapes of Africa under conditions of pronounced climatic, geological and environmental change during the past 7 million years. This book brings together detailed records of the paleontological and archaeological sites in Africa that provide the basic evidence for understanding the environments in which we evolved. Chapters cover specific sites, with comprehensive accounts of their geology, paleontology, paleobotany, and their ecological significance for our evolution. Other chapters provide important regional syntheses of past ecological conditions. This book is unique in merging a broad geographic scope (all of Africa) and deep time framework (the past 7 million years) in discussing the geological context and paleontological records of our evolution and that of organisms that evolved alongside our ancestors. It will offer important insights to anyone interested in human evolution, including researchers and graduate students in paleontology, archaeology, anthropology and geology.
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The book is the most in-depth account of the fossil skull anatomy and evolutionary significance of the 3.6-3.0 million year old early human species Australopithecus afarensis. Knowledge of this species is pivotal to understanding early human evolution, because 1) the sample of fossil remains of A. afarensis is among the most extensive for any early human species, and the majority of remains are of taxonomically inormative skulls and teeth; 2) the wealth of material makes A. afarensis an indispensable point of reference for the interpretation of other fossil discoveries; 3) the species occupies a time period that is the focus of current research to determine when, where, and why the human lineage first diversified into separate contemporaneous lines of descent. Upon publication of this book, this species will be among the most thoroughly documented extinct ancestors of humankind. The main focus of the book - its organizing principle - is the first complete skull of A. afarensis (specimen number A.L. 444-2) at the Hadar site, Ethiopia, the home of the remarkably complete 3.18 million year old skeleton known as "Lucy," found at Hadar by third author D. Johanson in 1974. Lucy and other fossils from Hadar, together with those from the site of Laetoli in Tanzania, were controversially attributed to the then brand new species A. afarensis by Johanson, T. White and Y. Coppens in 1978. However, a complete skull, which would have quickly resolved much of the early debate over the species, proved elusive until second author Y. Rak's discovery of the 444 skull in 1992. The book details the comparative anatomy of the new skull (and the cast of its brain, analyzed by R. Holloway and M. Huan) , as well as of other skull and dental finds recovered during the latest, ongoing field work at Hadar, and analyzes the evolutionary significance of A. afarensis in the context of other critically important discoveries of earliest humans made in recent years. In essence, it summarizes the state of knowledge about one of the central subjects of current paleoanthropological investigation.
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[1] We present a 5.3- Myr stack ( the " LR04'' stack) of benthic delta(18)O records from 57 globally distributed sites aligned by an automated graphic correlation algorithm. This is the first benthic delta(18)O stack composed of more than three records to extend beyond 850 ka, and we use its improved signal quality to identify 24 new marine isotope stages in the early Pliocene. We also present a new LR04 age model for the Pliocene- Pleistocene derived from tuning the delta(18)O stack to a simple ice model based on 21 June insolation at 65degreesN. Stacked sedimentation rates provide additional age model constraints to prevent overtuning. Despite a conservative tuning strategy, the LR04 benthic stack exhibits significant coherency with insolation in the obliquity band throughout the entire 5.3 Myr and in the precession band for more than half of the record. The LR04 stack contains significantly more variance in benthic delta(18) O than previously published stacks of the late Pleistocene as the result of higher-resolution records, a better alignment technique, and a greater percentage of records from the Atlantic. Finally, the relative phases of the stack's 41- and 23- kyr components suggest that the precession component of delta(18)O from 2.7 - 1.6 Ma is primarily a deep- water temperature signal and that the phase of delta(18)O precession response changed suddenly at 1.6 Ma.
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The Hata Member of the Bouri Formation is defined for Pliocene sedimentary outcrops in the Middle Awash Valley, Ethiopia. The Hata Member is dated to 2.5 million years ago and has produced a new species of Australopithecus and hominid postcranial remains not currently assigned to species. Spatially associated zooarchaeological remains show that hominids acquired meat and marrow by 2.5 million years ago and that they are the near contemporary of Oldowan artifacts at nearby Gona. The combined evidence suggests that behavioral changes associated with lithic technology and enhanced carnivory may have been coincident with the emergence of the Homo clade fromAustralopithecus afarensis in eastern Africa.
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The frequency and morphology of notches produced on bovid long bones by carnivore gnawing (tooth notches) and hammerstone-on-anvil breakage (percussion notches) are quantified. Notches are semicircular- to arcuate-shaped indentations on fracture edges with corresponding negative flake scars on medullary surfaces. We restrict our analysis to notches produced under controlled conditions by either carnivores or hammerstones when diaphyses are breached to extract marrow. Percussion notches are characteristically more frequent, and, in cortical view, broader and shallower than tooth notches. The flakes removed from percussion notches are typically broader, and have a more obtuse release angle, than those removed from tooth notches. These morphological differences are statistically significant for notches on Bovid Size 1 and 2 long bones but not on Bovid Size 3 long bones. Notches should be more durable than marks produced by carcass consumers on bone surfaces because they penetrate the entire thickness of the bone. As a result, notches are not easily obscured by weathering, chemical corrosion, or adhering matrix. Given this durability, and the initial success we have had in distinguishing the actor responsible for notch production on modern bones, notches can be used, with some limitations, to identify bone consumers archaeologically.