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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:26 pm
These sites represent some of the earliest definitive proof of fires deliberately maintained and used for cooking, although nearly 800,000-year-old hearths are reported from a site in Israel.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:26 pm
Prior to the advent of H. sapiens, archaeological sites are generally random scatterings of detritus of various types—mostly butchery sites and sites where groups lived at later times.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:26 pm
In the dwelling places of behaviorally modern early H. sapiens, on the other hand, there is a definite pattern in the use of space: toolmaking was done in one place, cooking in another, sleeping elsewhere
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:26 pm
The earliest intimations of such partitioning are found at the South African site of Klasies River Mouth, dating to more than 100 kya. This pattern is also typical of sites left behind by the earliest European H. sapiens, who colonized that continent many tens of thousands of years later.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:26 pm
Although the first evidence of symbolic thinking, which appears to have predated H. sapiens, was discovered on the island of Java in 2014 in the form of a zigzag shape etched on a shell dated to some 450 kya, the African sites serve as the earliest evidence of symbolism and the complex behaviours that characterize H. sapiens worldwide today.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:27 pm
At Blombos Cave, near Africa’s southern tip, was found an ochre plaque more than 70,000 years old that is engraved with an unmistakably geometric motif.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:27 pm
This and other early African sites have produced engraved ostrich eggshells and snail shells pierced for stringing and bodily adornment; these date from 70 to 50 kya.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:27 pm
It is also in Africa that the earliest evidence appears for such modern behaviours as long-distance trade and the mining of flint for artifact production.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:27 pm
The most-striking evidence for a distinct cognitive contrast between modern humans and all their predecessors, however, comes from Europe. H. sapiens came late to this continent and brought a new kind of stone tool based on striking long thin “blades” from a carefully prepared long core.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:27 pm
These Aurignacian tools, which were probably developed in Africa some 75,000 years ago, were accompanied by a kit of implements that for the first time were made out of materials such as bone and antler and that were treated with exquisite sensitivity to their particular properties.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:28 pm
In short order these Europeans, the so-called Cro-Magnons, left a dazzling variety of symbolic works of prehistoric art. The earliest known sculptures—delicate small carvings in ivory and bone—are about 34,000 years old. From about the same time come the earliest musical instruments, bone flutes with complex sound capabilities.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:28 pm
Also from this time, roughly 25,000 kya, come the first known notations. These markings were made on bone plaques, one of which has been interpreted as a lunar calendar.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:28 pm
By 30 kya the Cro-Magnons were already creating spectacular animal paintings deep in caves, most of which are accompanied by numerous geometric symbols
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:28 pm
Domestic items were regularly decorated and engraved by the Cro-Magnons. Burials, already practiced by the Neanderthals in a simple form, became complex, and graves were often crammed with goods that were likely thought to be useful to the deceased in an afterlife
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:28 pm
Clay figurines were soon baked in primitive but remarkably effective kilns, and by about 27 kya delicate eyed needles made of bone heralded the advent of couture (garment making).
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:29 pm
It is hard to ask for better proof that the Cro-Magnons were modern H. sapiens cognitively equipped with all the intellectual faculties of today’s people. Nobody would dispute, for example, that the Cro-Magnons had language; such a claim is arguable in earlier Stone Age H. sapiens and Neanderthals.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:29 pm
The Cro-Magnons contrasted strikingly with the Neanderthals, the hominins they had found already living in Europe upon their arrival and whom they replaced entirely over the next 10,000 to 12,000 years.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:29 pm
While symbolic behaviours are typical of all groups of living humans, not all such groups have left behind symbolic records as dramatic as those of the Cro-Magnons. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the Cro-Magnons and the Neanderthals perceived and interacted with the world in entirely different ways.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:29 pm
The Cro-Magnons were people with whom present-day humans could relate on their terms, and, as such, H. sapiens is not simply an incremental improvement on previous hominins.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:29 pm
Exactly when and where this new phenomenon initially occurred is problematic, but again the earliest evidence for the new behavioral pattern comes from Africa, and, as is discussed in the section below, the earliest anatomic intimations for the origin of H. sapiens also come from that continent.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:30 pm
However, anatomic and cognitive “modernities” do not seem to have developed hand in hand; evidently there was a time lag between the establishment of modern anatomy (which appears to have come first) and modern behavioral patterns. While perhaps counterintuitive, this observation actually makes sense.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:30 pm
Any innovation must take place within a species, since there is no place else it can do so. Natural selection is, moreover, not a creative force. It merely works on variations that come into existence spontaneously; it cannot call innovations into existence just because they might be advantageous.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:30 pm
Any new structure or aptitude has to be in place before it can be exploited by its possessors, and it may take some time for those possessors to discover all the uses of such novelties. Such seems to have been the case for H. sapiens in that the earliest well-documented members of our species appear to have behaved in broadly the same manner as Neanderthals for many tens of thousands of years.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:30 pm
It is highly unlikely that another species anatomically indistinguishable from H. sapiens but behaviorally similar to Neanderthals was supplanted worldwide in an extremely short span of time.
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Dhruv singhaniya
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on Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:30 pm
Therefore, it seems appropriate to conclude that a latent capacity for symbolic reasoning was present when anatomically modern H. sapiens emerged and that our forebears discovered their radically new behavioral abilities somewhat later in time.
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