Monday, September 24, 2012

A Hunting We Will Go

Bad day at the office.
Well, there you go. I didn’t even know there was controversy about humans hunting. Why else would we stand up? Today’s (9/24/12) headline in The Guardian: “Humans hunted for meat 2 million years ago. Evidence from ancient butchery site in Tanzania shows early man was capable of ambushing herds up to 1.6 million years earlier than previously thought.”

But wait, wait. We’ve been shaping tools for 2.5 million years. What did they think we were using those tools for? Making boats?

Scavengers? Humans? You’ve got to be kidding, right? Why would the top predator in the world be a scavenger? Not that they’d turn down luck, but if you’re trying to make it by chasing down road kill, I don’t think you’re going to make it to the top of the food chain. Are the chimps scavengers? No. Who came up with that scenario?

And making tools. All we know is that by 2.5 mya people were shaping rocks into scrapers and blades and hand-axes. The question becomes, of course, how long had they been using stones as tools before they hit upon shaping them? Not to mention, did they even begin with stone tools? Chimps go after their game with spears they fashion themselves out of wood. It’s reasonable to think that, when we split from the chimps, we were doing the same. It’s reasonable to think that we kept on making wooden spears until we figured out how to make and affix stone points to them.

It’s not unreasonable to think that, perhaps, what caused the split between us and the chimps was a predilection for hunting on our part. It’s not difficult to see that a shift from occasional hunting (chimps) to habitual hunting (us) could lead to obligate bipedalism (us). We know we were using tools when we split from the chimps. We were probably better at it than they were. At the very least, human tool use goes back six million years. Has to be.

Anyone who says otherwise is itching for a fight.

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