Comportamento humano moderno 500.000 anos antes do que se pensou

terça-feira, dezembro 22, 2009

Modern Behavior of Early Humans Found Half-Million Years Earlier Than Thought

ScienceDaily (Dec. 22, 2009) — Evidence of sophisticated, human behavior has been discovered by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers as early as 750,000 years ago -- some half a million years earlier than has previously been estimated by archaeologists.

Stone tools from the Benot Ya'aqov arah. (Credit: Image courtesy of Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

The discovery was made in the course of excavations at the prehistoric Gesher Benot Ya'aqov site, located along the Dead Sea rift in the southern Hula Valley of northern Israel, by a team from the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology. Analysis of the spatial distribution of the findings there reveals a pattern of specific areas in which various activities were carried out. This kind of designation indicates a formalized conceptualization of living space, requiring social organization and communication between group members. Such organizational skills are thought to be unique to modern humans.

Attempts until now to trace the origins of such behavior at various prehistoric sites in the world have concentrated on spatial analyses of Middle Paleolithic sites, where activity areas, particularly those associated with hearths, have been found dating back only to some 250,000 years ago.

The new Hebrew University study, a report on which is published in Science magazine, describes an Acheulian (an early stone tools culture) layer at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov that has been dated to about 750,000 years ago. The evidence found there consists of numerous stone tools, animal bones and a rich collection of botanical remains.

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Journal Reference:

Science 18 December 2009:
Vol. 326. no. 5960, pp. 1677 - 1680
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180695

Spatial Organization of Hominin Activities at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel
Nira Alperson-Afil,1,* Gonen Sharon,1 Mordechai Kislev,2 Yoel Melamed,2 Irit Zohar,3,4,5 Shosh Ashkenazi,5 Rivka Rabinovich,1,5 Rebecca Biton,5 Ella Werker,6 Gideon Hartman,7 Craig Feibel,8 Naama Goren-Inbar1,*

The spatial designation of discrete areas for different activities reflects formalized conceptualization of a living space. The results of spatial analyses of a Middle Pleistocene Acheulian archaeological horizon (about 750,000 years ago) at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel, indicate that hominins differentiated their activities (stone knapping, tool use, floral and faunal processing and consumption) across space. These were organized in two main areas, including multiple activities around a hearth. The diversity of human activities and the distinctive patterning with which they are organized implies advanced organizational skills of the Gesher Benot Ya’aqov hominins.

1 Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.

2 Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel.

3 Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel.

4 Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.

5 National Natural History Collections, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.

6 Department of Botany, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.

7 Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

8 Department of Geological Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: (N.A.-A.); (N.G.-I.)


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