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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... excavated from the oldest strata of Olduvai. It also presents a series of developing debates about living, dynamic realms of the Plio-Pleistocene and the methods by which such realms are interpreted from the dead, static things studied ...
... and artifact materials, and hospitality during my stay at Olduvai. By her invitation, I was also able to visit Olduvai in 1986 to study the faunal remains excavated from Long K, a site located at the top of Bed X Preface.
... excavations led by Mary Leakey during the early 1960s. Leakey's excavations concentrated on the two. 5.
... excavations of dense concentrations of fossils and stone tools were called "living sites" (Leakey, 1971). Other paleoanthropologists working in East Africa, especially J. Desmond Clark and Glynn Isaac, came to the same conclusion and ...
... excavated remains from Bed I Olduvai was carried out. In this volume I will discuss mainly six levels excavated and originally described by Leakey (1971). Since a thorough account of these levels is provided in the next chapter, a brief ...