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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Richard Potts. Bibliography Appendix A: Site DK Appendix B: Site FLKNN-3 Appendix C: FLKNN-2 Appendix D: Site FLK-22 Appendix E: Site FLK North-6 Index 313 333 351 361 369 381 390 Preface Olduvai Gorge is an extraordinary place, and the ...
... 2. 1b). This investigation into the activities of early hominids at Olduvai focuses on six levels excavated in Bed I. In stratigraphic order from top to bottom these levels are: FLK North Level 61 FLK "Zinj" (Level 22) FLKNN Level 2 FLKNN ...
... FLKNN-2 24 186 0 0 478 324 0 154'I 23 FLKNN-3 9 209 72 13.8 2261 390 1578 293'I 34 DK-2 68 345 1163" 93.9" 5422 832 3530 1000 41 DK-3 9 345 2433 518 1067 848 36 "The term mammal refers to large mammals (>2 kg). "The artifact samples ...
... two of them. Almost all of the large mammal fossils and the stone tools from Level 6 were discovered in a small area (37 m2) in the other two excavation ... FLKNN-2 In contrast with the five sites mentioned so far, The Sites at the Gorge 51.
... FLKNN-2, contained no stone artifacts. This level was a silty tuff, 24 cm deep, extensively marked by root casts ... FLKNN-3, immediately underlying Level 2. Leakey (1971: 43) feels that the accumulation of animal bones in this level ...