Prehistoric arms race started earlier than previously thought

Introduction – Nov 16, 2012

The fact that humans were using weapons 200,000 years earlier than thought should raise very serious questions about what we really know about humanity’s past.
After all our first modern human ancestors are thought to have appeared in Africa over 100,000 years ago and in Europe between thirty and forty thousand years ago.
In other words the discovery of stone tipped weapons dating back 200,000 years earlier that thought should call into question when the ancestors of modern man first appeared in either Africa or Europe.
The Independent, owned by an Oligarch, introduces the article with a dumbed down headline while the Guardian headline, “Stone Me” is equally as dumb. Both pointedly omit to ask what could have happened in that missing 200,000 years. It’s not an unreasonable question considering that our known history stretches back little beyond 5,000 years and modern man is first thought to have laid the foundations for primitive early society nearly 10,000 years ago.
That still leaves another 190,000 years unaccounted for, enough time for several civilizations to have risen and fallen. More than enough time for the evidence of their existence to disappear and then maybe be rediscovered, just like the stone-tipped weapons.
Do modern archaeologists and academics ask such questions, much less the oligarch owned Independent? The hell they do. Instead they blather on knowingly about how “This expands the range of behavioral complexity known in human ancestors living 500,000 years ago.” While pointedly ignoring the fact that a black hole stretching 200,000 years has existed in our knowledge about humanity’s past.
For example, imagine if the Industrial Revolution began 200 years earlier than thought, how this would change things? Now multiply that by a thousand times to get some idea of the chasm of ignorance that has just opened up before us. 
What more remains to be discovered? And what academics arrogance and journalists ambition will help conceal it?

Prehistoric arms race started earlier than previously thought

Nicole Ostrow – The Independent Nov 16, 2012

Scientists have found evidence that human ancestors used stone-tipped weapons 200,000 years earlier than once thought, findings that may change notions about the capabilities of prehistoric people.

Spears topped with stone points were most likely used for hunting large game and self-defense and were an important advance in weaponry, according to Jayne Wilkins, lead author of the paper Thursday in the journal Science. The points came from one of the Stone Age archaeological sites in South Africa called Kathu Pan 1, and were used a half-million years ago.

Researchers first thought the early humans were using sharpened wooden spears or stone hand axes, Wilkins said. The steps required to put a sharp-tipped stone at the end of a wooden spear, called hafting, means these ancestors had to engage in planning and other goal-driven thought processes long before a hunt took place, she said.

“This expands the range of behavioral complexity known in human ancestors living 500,000 years ago,” said Wilkins, a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, in a Nov. 13 email. “The amount of fore-planning and goal-oriented behavior required for collecting stone, wood and bindings for hafting indicate capabilities much greater than was previously known. It also shows that stone-tipped spears were being used by the ancestors of both modern humans and Neanderthals, so the technology is probably not an independent invention nor something one group learned from the other.”

The spears were an improvement because the hunters could get further out of harm’s way and were more likely to make a successful kill, she said.

The stone tips were recovered between 1979 and 1982 during excavations. In 2010, researchers dated the site to about a half-million years ago.

In the study, researchers replicated the stone points, attached them to spears and then shot them at a dead animal using a calibrated crossbow. The damage to the researchers’ stone points was similar to that seen on the 500,000-year-old points, Wilkins said. The stone points also fit the size and shape of Stone Age points used as spear tips.

“This technology would also have provided another layer of protection from other carnivores, Wilkins said. “Stone-tipped spears would have not only helped our ancestors get food, but would also protect them from becoming food. Some researchers have linked hafted technology – the attachment of stone tools to wooden or bone handles – to language because the sequential steps of combining materials to form a spear is like a recipe that must be followed exactly to produce a result that makes sense. In that way, hafting is analogous to creating a grammatical sentence.”

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