World's oldest butchering tools aided human language evolution over 2 million yrs ago
A new study has revealed that world's oldest butchering tools gave evolutionary edge to human communication over 2 million years ago.
Washington: A new study has revealed that world's oldest butchering tools gave evolutionary edge to human communication over 2 million years ago.
Combining the tools of psychology, evolutionary biology and archaeology, scientists from University of California, the University of Liverpool and the University of St. Andrews have found compelling evidence for the co-evolution of early Stone Age slaughtering tools and our ability to communicate and teach, shedding new light on the power of human culture to shape evolution.
The study is the largest to date to look at gene-culture co-evolution in the context of prehistoric Oldowan tools, the oldest-known cutting devices. It suggests communication among our earliest ancestors may be more complex than previously thought, with teaching and perhaps even a primitive proto-language occurring some 1.8 million years ago.
Lead author Thomas Morgan said that their findings suggest that stone tools weren't just a product of human evolution, but actually drove it as well, creating the evolutionary advantage necessary for the development of modern human communication and teaching.
Morgan added that their data show this process was ongoing two and a half million years ago, which allows us to consider a very drawn-out and gradual evolution of the modern human capacity for language and suggests simple "proto-languages" might be older than we previously thought.
The data suggest that when the Oldowan stone-tool industry started, it was most likely not being taught, but communication methods to teach it were developed later.
Morgan said that at some point they reached a threshold level of communication that allowed Acheulean hand axes to start being taught and spread around successfully and that almost certainly involved some sort of teaching and proto-type language.
The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.