"...the behaviour of most present day humans remains moderated by magical thinking-type mental processes (lack of integration between the left prefrontal cortical areas and memory), underwritten by sub-optimal cause and effect perception."

Robert G. Bednarik, An aetiology of hominin behaviour, Homo, 2012

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

And again!

New research suggests that archaeologists are leading scientists astray again...

This time, Dr John Stewart Associate Professor in Palaeoecology and Environmental Change from Bournemouth Uinversity heads up a team who have published a paper apparently demonstrating that in Iberia at least those super smart (but elusive) "modern humans" survived where those "slightly smarter than we'd previously given them credit for" Neanderthals "disappeared". Or something like that.

What the paper hinges on is the idea that stone tool "typologies" can be used as a proxy for cultural or biological markers - which of course they can't. At best they are technological indices, at worst these classifications exist only within the context of Pleistocene archaeology and are not falsifiable. 

What is apparent from the archaeological record - which can no more be expected to be representative of a wider cultural pattern than a household bin might be expected to be - is that stone tools became smaller over time, with a focus on blade production. Where this development has been documented in-situ in regionally diverse areas across Europe, it ranges from as early as 52,000 years ago to as recently as 8,000 years ago and shows no evidence of a "replacement" of one set of humans with another. See comments and references in past blogs for further info.

Picture, blade production at Fontmaure. Top left blade cores. Jasper and Sandstone.

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