The Revolution That Wasn't
THE SOURCE: “Refuting a Myth About Human Origins” by John J. Shea, in American Scientist, March–April 2011.
John J. Shea is an archaeologist. He is also a flintknapper, or someone who makes stone tools. While on a dig at a 195,000-year-old site in the Lower Omo River Valley Kibish Formation in Ethiopia, he was given pause by the stone tools our supposedly “primitive” human ancestors had left behind. Nothing about the tools seemed archaic or primitive in the least; they were made by hands that skillfully manipulated a range of rock types, and were not all that different from what a flintknapper could make today. What separates these “primitive” flintknappers from “modern” humans?