Showing posts from February, 2023

Did apes make stone tools?

  You've probably seen the headlines declaring that Paranthropus made and used stone tools, and if not, your news aggregator probably isn't tuned into "human evolution" stories like mine.  The stories are referring to a newly published study of a very interesting site on the shore of Lake Victoria on the western edge of Kenya .  Paranthropus is the new genus name for what used to be called the "robust australopithecines."  These creatures are characterized by their huge jaws, wide faces, and on some specimens, a sagittal crest like a gorilla.  Studies of their teeth suggest that a large fraction of their diet was grass.  My own research has consistently shown that Paranthropus may be a separate created kind from both humans and other apes like Australopithecus afarensis , "Lucy."  So my take is that they're not human. For one of my recent research projects, I spent some time looking at stone tools in east Africa, and I came away from that w

Neandertals: Mighty Hunters before the Lord!

  New research last week documents a startling record of Neandertal hunting.  Now we've known for some time that Neandertals were good hunters and that they could take down big game.  This new work based on an ancient lake deposit from Germany where the remains of a couple dozen straight-tusked elephants ( Paleoloxodon ) were found.  They were originally excavated in the 1980s and 1990s during rescue excavations ahead of mining operations.  There were plenty of stone tools found with them, and they've long been known to be an odd deposit.  The remains were largely from adult bull elephants, which in African elephants are known to be kind of loners.  There was a dearth of young or female animals.  The way they were deposited was also peculiar, with a few sites concentrating just tusks.  Not surprisingly, the concentration of stone tools matched that of the elephant bones. The new research by Gaudzinski-Windheuser and colleagues examined the bones for cut marks, and they found a