A Brief History of History subhead image

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Butcher: the individual who cuts meat from a dead animal.

Canine tooth: sharp teeth that are very large in carnivores like cats and dogs. ... more

Dikika: an area in Ethiopia where very old bones with cutmarks have been found ... more

Hominin: humans and all of their extinct relatives. Some of the best known hominin genera include Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and our genus, Homo.  ... more

Scavenging: finding and collecting food from discarded waste.

Technology: the methods of making tools and objects to make work easier.

Cutting edges to food processors

A leopard on the hunt uses her razor sharp teeth and claws to make a kill. A cobra uses its lightning speed and fangs to inject venom into its victims. And humans…well, we don’t have fangs or claws to get food. We have small teeth instead of sharp canines. We have fingernails instead of claws. Our stomachs are small and unable to digest most plants without cooking them first. But what humans do have is technology, and we’ve used that for a long time to get our meals.

A more "modern" Achulean tool replica (left) alongside a replica of an 1.8 million year old Oldowan tool (right). Image by Gerbil. Some archaeologists think the first stone tools that were ever used have yet to be found. These tools were unmodified rocks, some used for crushing or pounding. For instance, bones found in the Ethiopian desert at a place called Dikika have marks that look like they had been butchered. But the bones are older than the oldest stone tools! Hominins may have picked up rocks with naturally broken edges and used them to cut meat off of scavenged animals. This would be similar to walking down a road and finding a broken bottle to cut up roadkill. Though that may seem a bit gross, it makes an important point. The use of simple, found objects is what helped some of our earliest ancestors to survive.

I think I found a fossil/artifact! What should I do with it?
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