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Cultural Evolution (Tools)

Human Biology (Year 12) - Hominin Evolution

Ben Whitten

What tool cultures characterised the recent Hominins?

Homo habilis: Oldowan tools

Homo erectus: Acheulian tools

Homo neanderthalensis: Mousterian industries (tools)

Homo sapiens: Aurignacian, Solutrean and Magdalenian

What were Oldowan tools?

Oldowan tools were simple, primitive and had no predetermined design. They were made from stones and pebbles.

Characteristics of Oldowan tools included;

  • Basic pebble tools

  • Choppers, scrapers, flakes and chisels

  • Used to smash bones open

  • Precision grip employed as it was round with one jagged edge

  • Allowed them to exploit larger areas and hence migrate

What were Acheulian tools?

Acheulian tools were tools which influenced social organisation through its manufacturing, and included tools made from bones and stones.

Characteristics of Acheulian tools included;

  • Hand axes

  • Tear-drop in shape, flaked all around the edges

  • Worked on both sides

  • Helped hunting and building shelters

What were Mousterian industries?

Mousterian industries involved the production of stone flakes that could be trimmed to create various cutting, scraping, piercing and gouging tools.

Characteristics of Mousterian industries included;

  • Stones trimmed into disc-shaped core and struck by another piece to produce flakes

  • Aided in clothes production for cooler climates

What was the Aurignacian culture?

Aurignacian culture was characterised by the use of bone and stone to prepare finely crafted tools.

Characteristics of Aurignacian culture included;

  • Rectangular 'stone' blade tool with one or two sharp edges

  • Made by pressure flaking

  • Attached to branches to make axes

What was the Solutrean culture

Solutrean culture involved more of a decorative use of tools, and served little practical purpose.

Characteristics of Solutrean culture included;

  • Laurel leaf or willow leaf shaped flake stone tools

  • Intricate flaking on every edge

  • Used as spears or cutting

What was the Magdalenian culture?

Magdalenian culture involved the first tools made by bone, antlers and ivory.

Characteristics of Magdalenian culture included;

  • Usually pointed, sometimes with barbs

  • Included fishhooks, spearheads, harpoons and needles

  • Burin, chisel like cutter was used to make these tools

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