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The Consequences of Carnivory in Human Evolution: The intersection between pre-Early Stone Age butchery and technological evolution in modern hunter-gatherers
Thursday, April 25 - 4:30-5:45 p.m.
Location: SHESC 254
Jacob Harris, PhD
First, what is the spatiotemporal context associated with the origins of tool-mediated butchery in the hominin lineage and how common was it on the landscape? Second, how can the modern ethnographic record provide insight regarding the intersection of meat-eating, technological evolution, and a reliance on social learning? To address the first question, Harris will present the result of his dissertation research. He applied two Bayesian probability models, trained using experimental assemblages of bone surface modification, to the earliest fossil evidence of stone-mediated butchery in the hominin lineage from Ledi-Geraru, Ethiopia (2.82 Ma) and Dikika, Ethiopia (3.39 Ma). The results suggest early hominins were likely using unflaked stone to butcher animal carcasses by at least 3.39 Ma in Dikika and by 2.82 Ma in Ledi-Geraru. To address the second question, Harris will present the preliminary results from two ongoing studies among Hadza hunter-gatherers. His results suggest Hadza rely heavily upon cultural knowledge to facilitate the manufacture of their projectile technology and therefore the acquisition of meat. Further, although Hadza men’s activities are dominated by hunting, preliminary results suggest women may have a larger role in the acquisition of meat than previously thought.