Saturday, April 09, 2005

From Art and Tools Came Human Origins

From Art and Tools Came Human Origins. Larry Barham reports in British Archaeology that evidence of modern human behaviour 200,000 years old may have been found in Africa.

From the site:

Until fairly recently, modern humans were thought to have emerged some 40,000 years ago. There were several theories about how we had evolved from earlier species such as Homo erectus and the Neanderthals. Then, during the 1980s, new dating techniques were employed on early modern human fossils with startling results: our species was between 150,000 and 100,000 years old, with a clear origin in Africa. Genetic (DNA) evidence supported the case, and the `Out of Africa' theory of human origins was born.

During the 1990s, the trend of pushing back the dates of modern human origins continued. The evidence was still coming from Africa and the `Out of Africa' theory, despite some temporary setbacks, has been strengthened. Moreover, a totally new type of evidence - for modern human behaviour, in addition to modern skeletal form - has also been brought into play.

In recent years, remarkable new evidence has been found in Africa for the earliest use of pigment, dating to between 200,000 and 350,000 years ago. The use of pigment for body-painting or drawing suggests a `symbolic' awareness which has long been regarded as one of the hallmarks of modernity.

No comments: