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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... Stone Artifacts: Transport and Accumulation 235 Overview 246 Chapter 9. Resource Transport: A Prelude to Home Bases 249 The Home Base Concept 249 Critique of the Home Base Interpretation 253 Alternatives to the Home Base Hypothesis 258 ...
... stone tools 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 ... stone artifacts and the. ix Contents Preface.
Richard Potts. emerged: Why does a collection of stone artifacts and the bones from numerous animals necessarily signify a home base? That dynamic world that existed almost 2 million years ago in a small region of eastern Africa included ...
... artifacts made from stone signify an incipient technology and the ability to enter hard or tough plant foods or to open up an animal's carcass. The implication, according to traditional views, is that these early hominids performed ...
... stone artifacts and the broken, fossilized bones of numerous animals. These sites—such as FLK "Zinj," where the first Plio-Pleistocene fossil of Australopithecus in East Africa was found—occurred in a zone of sediments laid down on the ...