Hominin Evolution

Cultural Evolution (Tools)

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Content Contributors
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Ben Whitten

Learning Objectives

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What tool cultures characterised the recent Hominins?
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Homo habilis: Oldowan tools

Homo erectus: Acheulian tools

Homo neanderthalensis: Mousterian industries (tools)

Homo sapiens: Aurignacian, Solutrean and Magdalenian

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What were Oldowan tools?
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Oldowan tools were simple, primitive and had no predetermined design. They were made from stones and pebbles.


Characteristics of Oldowan tools included;


  • Basic pebble tools

  • Choppers, scrapers, flakes and chisels

  • Used to smash bones open

  • Precision grip employed as it was round with one jagged edge

  • Allowed them to exploit larger areas and hence migrate

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What were Acheulian tools?
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Acheulian tools were tools which influenced social organisation through its manufacturing, and included tools made from bones and stones.


Characteristics of Acheulian tools included;


  • Hand axes

  • Tear-drop in shape, flaked all around the edges

  • Worked on both sides

  • Helped hunting and building shelters

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What were Mousterian industries?
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Mousterian industries involved the production of stone flakes that could be trimmed to create various cutting, scraping, piercing and gouging tools.


Characteristics of Mousterian industries included;


  • Stones trimmed into disc-shaped core and struck by another piece to produce flakes

  • Aided in clothes production for cooler climates

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What was the Aurignacian culture?
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Aurignacian culture was characterised by the use of bone and stone to prepare finely crafted tools.


Characteristics of Aurignacian culture included;


  • Rectangular 'stone' blade tool with one or two sharp edges

  • Made by pressure flaking

  • Attached to branches to make axes

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What was the Solutrean culture?
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Solutrean culture involved more of a decorative use of tools, and served little practical purpose.


Characteristics of Solutrean culture included;


  • Laurel leaf or willow leaf shaped flake stone tools

  • Intricate flaking on every edge

  • Used as spears or cutting

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What was the Magdalenian culture?
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Magdalenian culture involved the first tools made by bone, antlers and ivory.


Characteristics of Magdalenian culture included;


  • Usually pointed, sometimes with barbs

  • Included fishhooks, spearheads, harpoons and needles

  • Burin, chisel like cutter was used to make these tools


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Introduction to Hominins
Australopithecus and Paranthropus
Genus Homo
Cultural Evolution (Tools)
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