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Cultural Evolution Question

Could someone please explain to me the second bullet point of this question?


This is the 2015 Evolution Paper Question 2

Hi, thanks for you question.
I am one of the Science moderators on this site :grinning:

In this question, the images are not able to be seen due to copyright reasons.
Fig 1: shows an Upper Paleolithic tool
Fig 2: shows an Oldowan tool
Fig 3: Shows an Acheulean tool (can you ask if your teacher has access to an original paper so you can see the images?)

In part two of this question you are being asked to state the order of the tools from earliest development to latest and link the changes in the tool structure/shape/rock type to the cultural evolution (language/communication/ability to think and plan etc) of the hominins who made the tools.

For example, the earliest tool is fig 2 the Oldowan tool. It is a simplistic tool made from pebbles (river rocks) made by hitting one rock with another to form primitive tools. Minimal blows where used to shape the tool, with not a lot of precision. THEN LINK TO THE HOMININ. These early tools were made by Homo habilis they had minimal forethought and planning (evident in the simplistic tools made). Communication/language was simple so complex tools would have been beyond their capabilities. These tools did allow for breaking of bones (most likely scavenged) so Homo habilis could access bone marrow which is energy rich as a food source.

You would then go on to say similar ideas about the acheulean tools structures (being more work, bifaced, finer etc) and then link this to Homo erectus/Other archaic Homo sapiens and their increased cultural evolution. And again with the upper paleolithic tools and Homo sapiens.

The 3rd bullet point of the question can really be included in the 1st and 2nd bullet points. Talking about how the tools increased the amount of protein in the diets (H. habilis was basically vegetarian with limited animal protein, small brain… simplistic tools increasing protein) led to a potential increases in brain size.
The brain is a very fatty organ, and meat is a much better source of the necessary fats than plant foods.
The relatively high kilojoule content of meat is also important, as the brain is a very energy-hungry organ.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for the answer
I was actually wondering what evidence of cultural evolution we should talk about? We know cultural evolution occurs through the transmission of ideas, learned behaviors and knowledge. But how can we relate the progression of the tool culture to the changes in cultural evolution?
Could we say that since the production of more complex tools required more forethought for the maker to envisage what role it would serve and envisualise how it would look like, this shows a progression in cultural evolution? Could you please expand on how the cultural evolution is substantiated through the progression of tool culture?

Nevermind my stupidity. I read your answer again and it makes sense. Thank you for the concise well written answer

No problem! Just think that the tools are evidence of cultural evolution. As you said cultural evolution is learned and so is tool making.
The tools themselves are an example of how the hominins planned, worked, communicated. By trial and error the tools got better and better, tool making techniques could be discussed and passed down familial/tribal lines. The tools allowed more access to better food sources and potentially led to increases in brain size.

Have a lovely day.

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Awesome! This was actually exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much:) I really do appreciate the help.