HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Who Was Throwing Spears B...

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 03:48 AM

 

Who Was Throwing Spears Before Humans?



Remains of the oldest known stone-tipped throwing spears, described in a new paper, are so ancient that they actually predate the earliest known fossils for our species by 85,000 years.

There are a couple possible implications, and both are mind-blowing. The first is that our species could be much older than previously thought, which would forever change the existing human family tree.

The second, and more likely at this point, is that a predecessor species to ours was extremely crafty and clever, making sophisticated tools long before Homo sapiens emerged.

Homo heidelbergensis, aka Heidelberg Man, lived in Africa, Europe and western Asia from at least 600,000 years ago. He clearly got around, and many think this species was the direct ancestor of Homo sapiens in Africa and Neanderthals in Europe and Asia.

The new paper, published in the latest PLoS ONE, focuses on the newly identified stone-tipped spears, which date to 280,000 years ago. They were found at an Ethiopian Stone Age site known as Gademotta.

http://news.discovery.com/human/evolution/stone-tipped-spears-pre-date-existence-of-humans-131113.htm?fb_action_ids=10152044497159577&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=[175275362679403]&action_type_map=[%22og.likes%22]&action_ref_map=[]

24 replies, 3420 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Who Was Throwing Spears Before Humans? (Original post)
HarveyDarkey Nov 2013 OP
Warpy Nov 2013 #1
Spider Jerusalem Nov 2013 #2
greyl Nov 2013 #3
Scootaloo Nov 2013 #14
Fumesucker Nov 2013 #4
trusty elf Nov 2013 #5
napkinz Nov 2013 #6
Berlum Nov 2013 #7
trusty elf Nov 2013 #20
AverageJoe90 Nov 2013 #8
Scootaloo Nov 2013 #15
randome Nov 2013 #10
ProdigalJunkMail Nov 2013 #9
The Straight Story Nov 2013 #11
Fumesucker Nov 2013 #12
kydo Nov 2013 #13
Scootaloo Nov 2013 #16
Marrah_G Nov 2013 #18
Vashta Nerada Nov 2013 #24
phantom power Nov 2013 #17
Coyotl Nov 2013 #19
FarCenter Nov 2013 #22
TexasProgresive Nov 2013 #21
FarCenter Nov 2013 #23

Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 03:53 AM

1. We are an old species, just continually evolving

It doesn't surprise me a bit that earlier hominids were shaping stones to use for hunting, butchering, and cleaning hides. I'm betting the useful rocks go back the whole 3.5 million years since we came down out of the trees.

Chimps have been known to use stones as tools, although I doubt they shape them. They just pick up likely rocks and go to work. That's likely what our earliest ancestors did and why we find so few early stone tools.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 03:53 AM

2. H. erectus.

Or some other extinct hominid. And speciation doesn't work in such a way that you can really draw a line and say "this is H. sapiens" and "this is H. erectus" when there's a sort of transitional period of evolution where there are hominids which exhibit characteristics of both (speciation being something that generally happens in a geographically isolated population subjected to different evolutionary pressures and random genetic drift relative to its parent species).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 03:59 AM

3. Headline should read "MODERN Humans".

Humans (Homo genus) have been around for a few million years.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to greyl (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 07:07 AM

14. Quite correct, though not quite for the reasons you put forth

 

Homo sapiens has been around for five hundred thousand years or so. "Modern" humans is actually a division within our own species, representing those H. sapiens who have existed within the last fifty thousand years of that period. Before that, you have "archaic" H. sapiens.

This is just our own species, and does not include others, such as Neandertals, H. erectus, or H. heidelbergensis, all of which are known to have been intelligent tool-users who predate H. sapiens entirely.

Who made this spear point? "Archaic" humans, most likely or one of those other three. Anthropologically speaking, it simply muddles the distinction between archaic and modern a little more, which really, isn't really a distinction ANYWAY, since if you were there at the time, you wouldn't have been able to tell the difference.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 04:04 AM

4. ...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 05:14 AM

5. .......

[IMG][/IMG]

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to trusty elf (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 05:22 AM

6. wow ... how far back does that Tea Party gathering go?








Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to napkinz (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 06:04 AM

7. Looks like xCommander AWOL (R) in the back left

oh my stars

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Berlum (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 09:40 AM

20. He sawed off the branch of the evolutionary tree

upon which he was sitting.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to napkinz (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 06:32 AM

8. Given how far removed they are from the rest of society.....

 

they might as well br truly descended from bonafide primates; after all, all they do is sling poop and screech erratically & nonsensically at everything they see, right?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to napkinz (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 07:10 AM

15. Man, PLEASE

 

Look at them. Those dudes in the back are bringing home food, the lady on the left is making some tools, the woman next to her is inventing the shot put... these are productive members of society, how dare you compare them to the tea party. Hell, they're even better dressers!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to trusty elf (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 06:43 AM

10. Larry Klayman's gathering drew more participants than we were led to believe.

 

[hr][font color="blue"][center]There is nothing you can't do if you put your mind to it.
Nothing.
[/center][/font][hr]

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 06:33 AM

9. ...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 06:52 AM

11. I was wondering how they date them, so I googled "how to date spearheads"

A page full of links to Britney Spears. Sad, but funny.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 06:55 AM

12. ~snort~



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 07:00 AM

13. How can they date when the stone became the stone-tipped spear?

The stone dates back to 280,000 years ago but the important question is when was it made into the tool? Just wondering ....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kydo (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 07:19 AM

16. There's several methods, actually

 

The easiest is simply by noting the age of the strata where the tool was found. This works best in caves, of course, where hte tool isn't being washed out and scattered.

Some stones, such as the obsidian we see here, can be dated by lithic hydration; obsidian absorbs water from the air at a constant and measurable rate. This produces a sort of "rind" around the surface of the stone, past which there is less than 1% water. The depth of the hydrated surface layer works like the rings of a tree, letting us know how long this tool's surface has been explosed to air - since these tools are usually produced from the core of a stone, ratehr than the stone's outer surface, we can get pretty accurate with this.

There are also a variety of isotope measurements, and i think flint can be dated by the effect light has on it in a manner similar to obsidian hydration.

We can' tell when it was hafted, and only the design tells us it was (that's definitely not a shape you want to hold in your hand with any amount of pressure - obsidian is sharp!)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kydo (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 09:36 AM

18. That's my question also

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kydo (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 11:37 AM

24. Usually radiocarbon dates are gathered from the same soil layer as the artifact.

 

and those are used to date the artifact. That's how we dated some of the projectile points at the site I'm working at. Isotope analysis is another way archaeological dating can be done.

Seriation can also be used, but it's not as accurate as a dating method. It gives one a "ballpark" figure.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 09:35 AM

17. slee-staks

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 09:39 AM

19. Poorly written articles like this need to be dumped

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Coyotl (Reply #19)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 10:39 AM

22. Thanks

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 10:30 AM

21. That's interesting but maybe

These predated Homo heidelbergensis, Hermaphrodite Sea Slug Stabs Mate in Head During Sex
http://www.democraticunderground.com/122824603

I'm sorry but I just read the post about the sea slug before reading yours.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HarveyDarkey (Original post)

Wed Nov 20, 2013, 11:35 AM

23. What is really interesting is that scientists can tell the differnce between throwing and thrusting

 

Fracture analysis can distinguish between those caused by slow versus high velocity impacts.

So this is the earliest projectile point for throwing spears, although thrusting spears are much older.

The evolution of shoulder anatomy for throwing is even older, so I suppose that throwing rock and pebbles predates both.

Being able to kill at a distance beyond arm's length is a valuable skill.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread