First bi-face tools and Homo erectus

Reconstruction of H. erectus face. Image via Wikipedia

The elegant pear-shaped, double edged tool, known as the Acheulean ‘hand-axe’ is an icon for the distant past of humans. It appears in the record as a sharp contrast to the earlier crude cutting tools made of broken and sharpened pebbles, known generally as Oldowan, that around 2.5 Ma marked the appearance of some hominin species with the wit to exploit the inorganic world and begin manufacture. There can be little doubt that the visualisation of a useful shape within a formless block of stone and the dexterity to realise it as a tool marked a major change in human cognitive ability.

This article can be read in full at Earth-logs in the Human evolution and migrations archive for 2011

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