Early Hominid Activities at Olduvai
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The earliest sites at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania are among the best documented and most important for studies of human evolution. This book investigates the behavior of hominids at Olduvai using data of stone tools and animal bones, as well as the results of work in taphonomy (how animals become fossils), the behavior of mammals, and a wide range of ecological theory and data. By illustrating the ways in which modern and prehistoric evidence is used in making interpretations, the author guides the reader through the geological, ecological, and archeological areas involved in the study of humans.
Based on his study of the Olduvai excavations, animal life, and stone tools, the author carefully examines conventional views and proposals about the early Olduvai sites. First, the evidence of site geology, tool cut marks, and other clues to the formation of the Olduvai sites are explored. On this basis, the large mammal communities in which early hominids lived are investigated, using methods which compare sites produced mainly by hominids with others made by carnivores. Questions about hominid hunting, scavenging, and the importance of eating meat are then scrutinized. The leading alternative positions on each issue are discussed, providing a basis for understanding some of the most contentious debates in paleo-anthropology today.
The dominant interpretive model for the artifact and bone accumulations at Olduvai and other Plio-Pleistocene sites has been that they represent "home bases," social foci similar to the campsites of hunter-gatherers. Based on paleo-ecological evidence and ecological models, the author critically analyzes the home base interpretation and proposes alternative views. A new view of the Olduvai sitesâ that they represent stone caches where hominids processed carcasses for foodâ is shown to have important implications for our understanding of hominid social behavior and evolution.
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... at Olduv<ni Richard Potts ,“u';/// is //,, ALDINETRANSACTION Q: A Division of Transaction Publishers New Brunswick (U.S.A.) and London (U.K.) First Transaction paperback printing 2011 Copyright © 1988 by Transaction.
Richard Potts. First Transaction paperback printing 2011 Copyright © 1988 by Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be ...
... first word of gratitude is to Mary Leakey for permission to study the Olduvai material. This research would not have been possible without her pioneering excavation, dedicated organization of bone and artifact materials, and hospitality ...
... first analyses and ideas about Olduvai. Invaluable discussions, especially in the field in East Africa, were had with Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Henry Bunn, Ian Findlater, Jack Harris, Peter Jones, Ellen Kroll, Kathy Schick, and Nick Toth ...
... first to make stone tools. Tools and the sites where they are found have drawn the attention of paleoanthropologists and the public alike, for they suggest a time and a place for the origins of several distinctively human traits. The ...