Early Pleistocene Homo as ambush hunter at Olduvai:
The unthinkable, the unknowable, the unavoidable?'
The Friends of the South African Museum invites you to a seminar by Prof. Henry Bunn of the Dept. of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin.
Venue: T H Barry Lecture Theatre, Iziko SA Museum
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Date: Tuesday, 24 June
Was early Homo very human-like and capable of aggressive scavenging from carnivores and even hunting, or were they hapless and helpless, effectively bipedal chimps, capable only of marginal passive scavenging of carcass residues?
In the late 1970s, taphonomic analysis of fossil bones, particularly from the FLK Zinj site at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania and now dated to ~ 1.84 Ma, identified the first-ever stone tool cut marks and hammerstone fractures of this antiquity, which supported the behavioural association between the bones and hominin subsistence activities. At the same time, the taphonomic evidence prompted alternative interpretations of hominin foraging capabilities and an enduring “hunting and scavenging debate”.
The FLK Zinj profiles match evidence from the South African MSA, the European Upper Paleolithic, and from African hunter-gatherer ethnography, where spears or bows and arrows were used, indicating that early hominins at Olduvai were also probably ambush hunters and more capable than many archaeologists recognize.