Stefan Metaal's Big History Pages


Lower Palaeolithic

(2 mya - 200.000 bp)

"Saharan pump" possibly drives expansion

From plains ape to multi-habitat ape

Little variation in material culture across time and space

Love strengthens bonds between parents - and other potential parents

Nonverbal cognition forces war and diplomacy

Neotenia (suppression of adulthood): emotional flexibility, variation in facial expressions and emotional behaviour, greater learning potential

Aimed throwing and striking

Nominal monogamy (polygamy rare), dyad is the rule, though infidality is certainly not ruled out of human sexual relations

Pre-traditional phase: knowledge is not passed over the generations, there is no memory of past confrontations, and without culture there are no signs of common ancestry

Development of speech (uncertain)

Little material exchange: raw materials for lodowan and acheulean tools are acquired locally

Oldowan greatly increases food gathering possibilites

Stone tools: oldowan (from 2,5 mya) pebble tool industries: simple flakes struck off pebbles, with choppers and flakes

Haphazardly worked pieces of wood and bone (likely)

Tool dependency: long period of feeding and raising children (wielding tools, complex food gathering techniques, environmental knowledge)

Appearance of intentional processes evidenced in the pattern and design in lithic artefacts (Mode 2),

Tracking techniques: estimating and experimenting

Human group: need for coordinated effort in hunting and gathering, food storage and distribution, protection from predators and other humans

Hidden ovulation and hidden copulation - linking sexuality and intimimacy

Prepared sticks or primitive spears

Stone tools: acheulean (from 1,5 mya) biface industries: large flakes or cores shaped on both side to produce hand-axes

Nonverbal cognition, such as enironmental knowledge and understanding processes, communication of feelings. laughing and crying

"Hunting and gathering" with environmental knowledge and tracking techniques

Spread of Homo erectus, followed by archaic Homo sapiens

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