The evolution of a distinctive human niche: assessing and describing the development of wisdom in the Pleistocene the archeological record
How can anthropologists assess the pattern of complex decision-making that early humans undertook when navigating social networks and what role does this ability, which we might call wisdom, play in the origin & development of the cultural human experience? While it is clear that there are behaviors unique to humans such as the creation of complex lithic artifacts, unaddressed for the most part has been how behaviors such as collaboration, land use patterns/long-distance raw material transport, symbolic thinking, aesthetic preferences, ritual behavior, and stigmergy (self-organization) are expressions of wisdom itself. We suggest that specific changes occurred in the material record between 500-100 kya that engendered substantial changes in the human niche. Here, we report on a large-scale comparative database of archaeological and fossil sites, which includes behavioral patterns, materials used, types of representation produced, possible uses for these items, and, where available, local ecological and demographic parameters. This allows focus on the feedback loop between social and material complexity in order to examine how these experiences shaped other evolutionary processes. These data will then be used to develop a model to determine patterns that can provide insight into the creation and use of the distinctive human niche.
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The evolution of a distinctive human niche: assessing and describing the development of wisdom in the Pleistocene the archeological record. Marc Kissel, Agustín Fuentes, Celia Deane-Drummond. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397665)
min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;