Energy and the Human Journey: Where We Have Been; …
Question Bank of Biology Questions and Answers - 3
A bonobo named Kanzi , and made Oldowan-style tools after being taught. But those who stone tools and the control of fire were the Einsteins and Teslas of their day. Hunter-gatherers today often start fires by banging flint against pyrite stones, which is a combination that produces generous sparks. Habilines probably used such stones when making tools. Even Darwin suggested that that may have been how protohumans discovered how to make fire, as they banged rocks together. I have not seen anybody else advocate it, but as with the likelihood that protohumans learned to make stone tools and the practice then spread, I consider it likely that the control of fire was learned only , and then spread. Richard Wrangham thinks that habilines first controlled fire, which led to the of . He could be right, and my reasoning follows.
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Some further examples of the complexity and debate follow. About when is supposed to have appeared, a fossil formed in a similar location, which was at least contemporary with . Where it fits in the human family tree is unknown at this time, but today it is called . This is perhaps a descendant of , which (who led the team that discovered it) argued is a member of a new genus. Because there is in the modern human genome, under the , have been placed within by some anthropologists. Some small fossils in , but are now designated as a subspecies. The have been widely considered as , but they have features that suggest that they may have been habilines or even australopithecines, which would dramatically change the current view on the first migrations past Africa. They may well have been Oldowan culture australopiths that migrated from Africa about when did, and they also controlled fire. Similarly, a relative of that precedes is called , but may also be a subspecies. The confusion and debate is partly because the differences between those “species” are minor and more on the order of regional variation than any radical change. They perhaps could have all interbred with each other. Other than the “hobbits,” there are no great anatomical changes and few noticeable cultural ones among the various specimens for more than a million years of evolution, so I refer to them all as , as do many anthropologists, particularly when writing for the lay audience. For those who want to explore the relatively fine distinctions, the material is readily available for study and can be another useful example of the process of science, if one of the more heated illustrations.