Making Silent Stones Speak: Human Evolution And The Dawn Of Technology

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9780671875381: Making Silent Stones Speak: Human Evolution And The Dawn Of Technology
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In this dramatic reconstruction of the daily lives of the earliest tool-making humans, two leading anthropologists reveal how the first technologies-- stone, wood, and bone tools-- forever changed the course of human evolution.

Drawing on two decades of fieldwork around the world, authors Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth take readers on an eye-opening journey into humankind's distant past-- traveling from the savannahs of East Africa to the plains of northern China and the mountains of New Guinea-- offering a behind-the-scenes look at the discovery, excavation, and interpretation of early prehistoric sites.

Based on the authors' unique mix of archaeology and practical experiments, ranging from making their own stone tools to theorizing about the origins of human intelligence, "Making Silent Stones Speak" brings the latest ideas about human evolution to life.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

From the codirectors of Indiana University's Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology: a weighty report on paleoanthropological technology--the study of our earliest ancestors and their use of tools. What Schick and Toth don't know about ancient tools isn't worth knowing: These intrepid researchers have even spent time at bone-dry East African archaeological sites, butchering elephant carcasses with ultra-primitive stone flakes (``imagine cutting through a car tire with a razor blade'') that they fashioned themselves. From such gritty fieldwork and a hundred years of laboratory investigations, anthropologists have pieced together a solid portrait of early humans as ``profoundly technological creatures.'' Schick and Toth survey all the major controversies, including the key question of when tools first appeared (about 2.4 millions years ago) and whether Australopithecus robustus (a line that expired) or Homo habilis (which evolved into us) originated tool-use (the authors plump for Homo habilis). In lively textbook style, Schick and Toth cover the discovery of the Stone Age by 19th-century scientists; outdated theories about Stone Age people (Raymond Dart's killer-ape hypothesis); the dating of fossils; how to differentiate early stone tools from natural products; the nature of Stone Age sites (home base? scavenger camps?); the use of early tools (for hide-working, nut-cracking, bone-breaking, and all manner of hyphenated activity); even the future of technology (is ``self-induced extinction'' our inevitable fate?). What makes us human, the authors assert, is not tool-making per se--mud wasps, sea otters, and chimps make tools, albeit dinky ones--but the interplay of technology and culture, so that, unlike all other creatures, we can truly say that ``tools are us.'' Much like life at a paleoanthropological site: dry and dusty, with sudden eruptions of serendipity. For buffs of early human life, a gift. (One hundred illustrations.) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

"Tools are us," assert the authors, anthropologists at Indiana University, referring to the pivotal role that tool making and tool use played in transforming apelike hominids into modern humans. In East Africa, Schick and Toth learned to duplicate and use Stone Age-like tools for woodworking, animal butchery and other tasks. Drawing on this experimental fieldwork and on the fossil record, they conclude that approximately two million years ago, early hominids turned to flaked stone tools as part of a decisive adaptive shift stressing deliberate planning and manipulation of the environment. This development, they argue, set in motion a "circular feedback loop," with advantageous tool use favoring a large brain to plan even more tool use, which in turn fostered social interaction and intelligence. Illustrated with 100 photographs and drawings, this lucid primer is an exciting exploration of the world's most ancient technologies, of human origins and of controversies in paleoanthropology. BOMC, QPB and History Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Touchstone, 1994. Soft cover. Condition: New. In this dramatic reconstruction of the daily lives of the earliest tool-making humans, two leading anthropologists reveal how the first technologies-- stone, wood, and bone tools-- forever changed the course of human evolution. Drawing on two decades of fieldwork around the world, authors Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth take readers on an eye-opening journey into humankind's distant past-- traveling from the savannahs of East Africa to the plains of northern China and the mountains of New Guinea-- offering a behind-the-scenes look at the discovery, excavation, and interpretation of early prehistoric sites. Seller Inventory # ABE-1507775897707

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1994. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In this dramatic reconstruction of the daily lives of the earliest tool-making humans, two leading anthropologists reveal how the first technologies-- stone, wood, and bone tools-- forever changed the course of human evolution. Drawing on two decades of fieldwork around the world, authors Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth take readers on an eye-opening journey into humankind s distant past-- traveling from the savannahs of East Africa to the plains of northern China and the mountains of New Guinea-- offering a behind-the-scenes look at the discovery, excavation, and interpretation of early prehistoric sites. Based on the authors unique mix of archaeology and practical experiments, ranging from making their own stone tools to theorizing about the origins of human intelligence, Making Silent Stones Speak brings the latest ideas about human evolution to life. Seller Inventory # AAV9780671875381

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1994. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In this dramatic reconstruction of the daily lives of the earliest tool-making humans, two leading anthropologists reveal how the first technologies-- stone, wood, and bone tools-- forever changed the course of human evolution. Drawing on two decades of fieldwork around the world, authors Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth take readers on an eye-opening journey into humankind s distant past-- traveling from the savannahs of East Africa to the plains of northern China and the mountains of New Guinea-- offering a behind-the-scenes look at the discovery, excavation, and interpretation of early prehistoric sites. Based on the authors unique mix of archaeology and practical experiments, ranging from making their own stone tools to theorizing about the origins of human intelligence, Making Silent Stones Speak brings the latest ideas about human evolution to life. Seller Inventory # AAV9780671875381

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