When did the oldest technological revolution occur?

June 21, 2024  18:03

About 600,000 years ago, our ancestors made a technological leap that significantly influenced the further development of human culture and technology. American anthropologists from the University of Missouri came to this conclusion after analyzing the methods of making stone tools over 3.3 million years of human evolution. Their research was published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Stone tools

For the study, the team of anthropologists examined 62 stone tool production sequences collected from 57 excavation sites around the world, including Africa, Eurasia, Greenland, Oceania, the Americas, and the prehistoric continent of Sahul. The analysis showed that by 1.8 million years ago, the procedural complexity of making stone tools was between two and four units. Over the next 1.2 million years, technology gradually developed and reached seven procedural units.

A quantum leap occurred about 600,000 years ago, when the complexity of stone tool production increased to 18 procedural units. Scientists call this period the technological revolution of the Middle Pleistocene.

The role of cumulative culture

According to researchers, such significant progress was made possible thanks to accumulative, or cumulative culture - the process of transferring and improving knowledge through generations. Anthropologists noted that generations of improvements, modifications, and chance discoveries created technologies and know-how that were superior to anything one person could invent in a lifetime.

When a child inherits the culture of his parents, he receives the result of thousands of years of trying and experimenting, the scientists explained. This process significantly accelerated the development of technology and contributed to the divergence of paths between the ancestors of modern humans and Neanderthals.

The discovery of American anthropologists is of great importance for understanding the evolution of human technology and culture. It emphasizes the importance of the cumulative accumulation of knowledge and its transmission through generations, which ultimately contributed to the emergence of the complex technologies and cultural practices that humanity possesses today.

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