The earliest unambiguous evidence for modern human behaviour has been discovered by an international team of researchers in a South African cave. The finds provide early evidence for the origin of modern human behaviour 44,000 years ago, over 20,000 years before other findings. The artefacts are near identical to modern-day tools of the indigenous African San bush people. The research was published yesterday in PNAS.
Although 75,000-year-old evidence for human innovation has previously been found in southern Africa, the meaning of these artefacts has been difficult to interpret. “These were things that seem symbolic, but there’s no direct link to those people. We don’t know what they were thinking,” explained co-author Dr Lucinda Backwell of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
These new discoveries, however, resemble modern day tools used by San hunter-gatherers so clearly as to remove any doubt as to their purpose.
“You can hold [one of the] ancient artefacts in your left hand and a modern artefact in your right and they’re exactly the same. It’s incredible… the functions are very, very clear,” Dr Backwell told the BBC. Via ‘Earliest’ evidence of modern human culture found.