|Fig 1 from Wilkins et al. Spear tips c. 500k BC|
- The Nature paper (Brown et al - "An early and enduring advanced technology originating 71,000 years ago in South Africa") shows that arrows (and presumably bows) were probably being made over 70k years ago. This, they argue, also shows that cultural transmission was taking place, probably by language. The stone mesoliths used to make the arrowheads need heat treatment and careful chipping.
- The Science paper (Wilkins et al . "Evidence for Early Hafted Hunting Technology") suggests that stone points were being hafted onto spears 500k years ago. This shows that "early humans were manufacturing hafted multicomponent tools ~200,000 years earlier than previously thought."
Met a doctor at the weekend who said he was a "lapsed atheist" - promising!
PS: These two points also provide a very convincing example of group selection/cultural evolution. Not even the most deranged Dawkinsite would claim that there was "a gene for arrow-making." Although clearly some complex genetic adaptations of early hominids might make it more likely that they would be able to think about such things effectively, the critical difference would be between groups which actually had this technology and were passing it on, culturall, to their "descendants" and those that did not.