Crafting “Tools and Human Evolution” by J. Dickey

Sherwood Washburn author’s an article in Scientific American that tackles and redefines the history of tools use by humans. He brings up the idea, with teeth, bones, and rocks found in Africa as evidence, that tools were used by ape-men not ancient man.

The first piece of evidence is the difference in bone structure that developed in the ape-men who used tools and other anthropoids that developed into monkeys. Ape-men had hip structures that are more similar to humans compared to apes. Apes have long hips while ape-men have shorter, wider hips that allowed bipedal sprinting and left the arms free to use tools.

Teeth are also a sign of the evolutionary changes between ancient apes and man-apes. Modern apes, like their ancestors have prominent canines and strong, large shaped jaws. Man-ape skulls are more like humans’ with a smaller jaw and teeth; this supports that defense and nutrition shifted from large teeth to tool use about 500,000 years ago.

Lastly, Washburn notes that next to these skeletons are several piles of unworked, but shaped, rocks. Based on the composition of the sediment from the time the rocks in every location were proven to have been moved methodically by several miles. These shaped rocks were also found in proximity to several man-ape skeletons.

In conclusion, Sherwood Washburn presents the idea that tools were used by humanoids before evolutionary man came to exist. These ape-men had differences in skeletal structures, to include a smaller jaw and shorter, wider hips which allowed for bipedal movement. Ape-men had smaller teeth which supported a different means of defense and nutrition. And lastly, the tools themselves were found near ape-man skeletons miles outside the rocks’ natural habitats.

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This short article above by University College of London’s Institute of Archeology also talks about teeth in ancient man. This article discusses the interest and difficulty in measuring the wear patterns in genus Homo creatures. Because earlier diets were so harsh and there was no self-dental care most teeth are worn down to the root. But a breakthrough in with dental impressions has allowed researchers to accurately measure the rate of enamel wear on teeth from the Neolithic as far as Upper Paleolithic jaws.