CARTA presents Anthropogeny: The Perspective from Africa – Job Kibii, Likius Andossa, Yonas Beyene


– [Voiceover] We are the paradoxical ape. Bipedal, naked, large brained, long the master of fire,
tools, and language. But still trying to understand ourselves. Aware that death is inevitable. Yet filled with optimism. We grow up slowly. We hand down knowledge. We empathize and deceive. We shape the future from our shared understanding of the past. CARTA brings together experts
from diverse disciplines to exchange insights on who we are and how we got here. An exploration made possible by the generosity of humans like you. (relaxing music) – Good afternoon. I would like to start
with acknowledgement. Just in case I run out of
time and Berhane kicks me out. I’m happy to be here. And thanks to CARTA
Foundation for inviting me. And thank you to the organizers, Berhane Afsaw and Lyn Wadley. And also to Linda. I think we have been
communicating a lot with Linda. And also to the general staff of CARTA for making this trip and
this symposium a success. I’m saying a success because
I think it will be a success until the end. So, I’ve been invited to give a talk on Australopithecus in
East and South Africa. It’s quite an enormous task. And I think I’ll try to do it justice, because it’s an enormous field of research that has gone on to make this
research come to fruition. So, let’s get the facts. For the first five million
years of our evolution since our common ancestors with the closest cousins, the chimpanzees, at seven million years. Those first five million
years of our evolution are confined in Africa. So, if we are understanding
the story of humankind, the story of us, the very
first five million years you don’t find fossils
anywhere except in Africa. And, most of those fossils
that expand during that time, they are within the group
called Australopithecus. The genus called Australopithecus. There are others, which
I’ll talk about later. But, since is the focus of the topic, I’ll confine myself mostly
to that group or genus. The Australopithecus. So, to talk about the Australopithecus. If you’re talking about the genus, it’s almost the same as if you’re talking about human evolution. You cannot talk about human evolution without talking about Charles Darwin. If you’re talking about Australopithecus, you cannot talk Australopithecus without talking about Raymond Dart. This is the person who coined the term Australopithecus in 1925 after getting a skull of what is commonly known as Taung child in a site in South Africa called Taung. This was in 1924. But the publication to name
this species was in 1925. Raymond Dart recognized
various characteristics of the Taung child. Some of which were human-like
and others that were ape-like. And, as highlighted in this slide, you can see the Taung child skull possessed a forward
placing foramen magnum. Indicating that it was walking bipedally. And we know, as part
of the primate family, we are the only ones who walk bipedally. So, he recognized that this has to be in line with the humans. He also recognized that the
ape had a human-like forehead. It had no marked diastema, which is the space between
the canine and the incisors. And it also had a reduced brow ridge. That’s this part of your face. Those features tied it or
brought it closely in line with what we see in humans. However, the skull itself
had a very small brain, which is ape-like. It had a jaw which was jutting forwards. Which was also ape-like. And it had no chin. So, he called this
Australopithecus africanus. The southern apeman from Africa. And described it as “an
extinct race of apes intermediate between living
anthropoids and man.” However, this didn’t go down well within the scientific community. He was criticized first for mixing Greek and Latin in coming up
with the naming of the species. Also, at the same time,
we had the Piltdown hoax, which had been engineered since 1912. And it indicated that the humans, or the ancestors of humans, which should be expecting a
big brain, an ape-like jaw, and less of the body was
supposed to be catching up in evolutionary terms. And, also, it didn’t help
that, during that time, Homo neanderthalensis had been discovered in Germany in 1856. Homo erectus had been
discovered in Java in 1891. And Homo heidelbergensis had
also been discovered in 1907. So, there were already specimens that were already human-like that were competing with the theory that Raymond Dart had indicated that Australopithecus africanus
was ancestral to the humans. And, also, because of the small brain, it was believed that the Australopithecus, or the ancestors to humans,
should have a big brain. And so, Australopithecus africanus was contrary to what
the scientific community believed at the time. But science has proved
that Dart was right. And we now believe. There’s a general consensus that Australopithecus occupy
a morphological space intermediate between early
members of genus Homo and the living African apes. Sometimes it’s much. Ardipithecus, which is there,
and Kenyanthropus, here, early members of Homo, Paranthropas, which we have Paranthropi
aethiopicus in East Africa. Paranthropus boisei also in East Africa. And Paranthropus robustus in South Africa. They made these into the
genus Australopithecus. But this becomes too restrictive, because there are clear
anatomical differences between the four groups. And this presentation excludes members that are at any time referred to as Ardipithecus, Paranthropus,
Kenyanthropus, and Homo. And restricts the discussion
on only members that have been deferred as Australopithecus in East Africa and South Africa. In East Africa, we have
a number of species that have been identified. And these are the ones
that have general consensus that they are within the
genus Australopithecus. We have four species. We have the latest that have
been discovered in Ethiopia. This is Australopithecus deyiremeda. I hope I’m pronouncing that right. Bahan can correct me. The Australopithecus
anamensis discovered in Kenya. Australopithecus afarensis discovered in Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Australopithecus gahri
discovered in Ethiopia. And the vertical lines indicate a species that have been found
in more than one site. If it’s just a dot, like in gahri, indicates it has just been
found in a single site. And the horizontal line
indicates the span. Their dates extend from, let’s
say, for example, anamensis, 4.2 through 3.9 million years. But, if it’s just a single dot, that indicates that specimen
has just one single date associated with it. In South Africa, we have
Australopithecus prometheus. That was named in 1948. Then kind of it was
controversial whether that was. The specimens that were
presented a new species. And it was dropped off. But, last year, there were discoveries that revived the name. It’s still controversial
whether it’s scientific to revive a name or whether the name should have fallen out of use. And the dates are still
also controversial. We have dates that earliest
are 3.67 million years. And some who suggest that
the species, in fact, dates to less than 2.2 million years. So, that’s why we have that dotted line. In South Africa, we also
have Australopithecus sediba at 1.97 million years. And Australopithecus africanus at three to 2.1 million years. While each of the species has its own particular
morphological characteristics, time constraints do not permit discussing each species in isolation. Instead, I’ll focus on
morphological traits that are rather consistent
right through that lineage. So, what I’ll do is I’ll
go down from the cranium indicating what’s common and how we understand
whether that contributed to who we are and what
implications it has. When you look at the
cranium of Australopithecus, it shares several cranial characters. Including a forward placed foramen magnum. Indicating that this genus was bipedal. They had small brain size. Small relative cranial height and breadth. Prominent glabellar. Which is this region here. And relatively robust zygomatic bone. And also they had a jutting jaw. Those are just some of
the characteristics. They also had U-shaped dental arcade. Chimpanzees have almost
rectangular dental arcade. And the modern humans. We have a parabolic dental formula. When we look at the brain, the general trend in human evolution is an increase in cranial capacity. And this trend become
marked in the genus Homo. And, usually, it’s often associated with consumption of meat. We know that brain size
increased more than threefold from Australopithecus
to our genus species. So, you can see the Australopithecus here. They had very small brain size. And, when you come to us, it’s almost about three times what you see in the Australopithecines. One critical question in human evolution is the timing and mode of
other hominid brain evolution. As late as 2010, it was
generally assumed that brain size increment preceded
brain reorganization. From 3.6 million years,
that’s when we have the Australopithecus prometheus,
to two million years, which is represented by
Australopithecus sediba, research indicates that Australopithecus’ cortical folding patterns in the brain were essentially chimpanzee-like. Brain volumes are also at least at the upper end of chimpanzee evolution. However, Australopithecus sediba,
which is represented here. And also this is sediba. Which was discovered in 2008. Australopithecus sediba display human-like local protrusion in the
inferior frontal area. Which is that region
that’s highlighted here. Which the researchers,
led by Kris Carlson, they call this an implication of early stages of bolstering local neuroconnectivity in area 45 in which they argue is related to speech. That’s the current consensus is that the gradual neural reorganization of the orbital frontal region in the transition from
Australopithecus to Homo, but not gradual enlargement
before transition. So, what does an increase
in brain size demand? An increase in brain size demands an increase in energy intake and/or a reduction in energy allocation to other energy demanding functions. For example, by adopting a more efficient bipedal locomotion, having a slower growth
and reproduction rate, and having smaller guts. All these factors have
been observed or inferred in the evolution from
Australopithecus to Homo. If you look at the
shoulder and the thorax, Australopithecus genus is characterized by a relatively elevated shoulders and a conical shape in the upper thorax. Which you can see the
shoulders here elevated. This is Australopithecus sediba. That’s modern humans. And that’s the chimpanzees. The shoulders are elevated. So, Australopithecus
have this general shape, which is similar to what
we see in the chimpanzees. The high position shoulders have been interpreted as indicative of upper limbs that were habitually
used in overhead postures in the context of arboreal locomotion and positional behaviors. That means they would
have, most of the time, been using their arms like this. That’s whether they were climbing or using that for movement in the trees. A conical-shaped torso,
as you can see on this, which is similar to what
you see in the chimpanzees. The humans have a barrel-shaped torso. It’s effective in evenly distributing stress on the ribcage during hanging. But also these. I draw back to that, because
it makes it difficult to swing arms when walking
upright or running. A barrel-shaped thorax,
as in modern humans, is well adapted for endurance
walking and running. This is a depiction of
Australopithecus climbing. And you have to agree with me. This has to be a very small tree if they are holding on the
branch and also on the ground. If you look at the forelimb, Australopithecus are characterized by long arms with particularly
large joint surfaces and a higher brachial index. A higher brachial index is
greater than modern gorilla, but lower than chimpanzees. Indicating retention of some
degree of arboreal competency. This would also imply an upper limb that was habitually used in overhead postures in the context of arboreal locomotion and position and behaviors. When we look at the hand, Australopithecus possessed
long, robust, and curved fingers with strong attachment
sites for flex muscles. The degree of curvature in
the shafts of the fingers is correlated with frequency
of arboreal behavior. Australopithecus phalanges
are intermediary curved between those of modern
humans and great apes. Suggesting regular substantial
climbing and suspension. So, the question is did
Australopithecus make stone tools? And what we know is
the earlier stone tools dated to about 3.3 million years. They are called Lomekwian. And they predate the other
members of the genus Homo by 800000 years. And the genus Homo is thought to have made the stone tools. So, most likely,
Australopithecus would have made stone tools. If you look at the spine and the legs, Australopithecus has five
to six lumbar vertebrae that articulated to form a
human-like lumbar curvature. Effective for weight transmission from the upper body to the pelvis while also permitting
the hips and the trunk to swivel forward during walking. Australopithecus are characterized by relatively short legs,
small femoral heads, small joint surfaces, and the small femoral necks are, however, longer and anterior-posterior compressed than those of humans and chimpanzees and more high angled. Shorter legs are less energy
efficient in bipedal walking. Though they help in lowering
the center of gravity. Hence increasing stability and balance while walking on uneven substrate. Owen Lovejoy has suggested that long femoral necks increase the mechanical advantage of the hip muscle that stabilize the pelvis. When we look at. Also continuing on the spine and the leg. The distal pretibia in Australopith is characterized by anterioposteriorly
expanded metaphysis. That’s this region here. That has been interpreted as
probably bipedal adaptation that expanded volume of ankle force dissipation during walking. The foot of Australopithcus
has a large immobilized toe that’s in line with other toes as evident in the 3.6 million
year old Laetoli footprints. And this alignment provides a strong push-off during toe-off. While the pelvis of
Australopithecus is human-shaped. They’re broad with a wide,
side-to-side, birth canal. Small sacral and coaxial joints. Long pubic rami. Kevin Hunt has argued that a wider pelvis evolved to allow internal
organs to ride lower in the body cavity. Thus lowering the center of gravity. Hence increasing balance
while bipedal walking. Prior to discovery of
Australopithecus sediba, shown here. And this is modern humans. It was assumed that Homo-like
architecture of the pelvis was a result of giving birth
to large-brained babies. In 2005, Lovejoy argued that “the primary differences between the pelves of australopithecines
and modern humans do not reflect changes
in locomotor adaptation, but instead are a complex and elaborate anatomical response to
birthing in response to increasing Pleistocene
hominid cerebralization.” However, the Homo-like pelvis
of Australopithecus sediba coupled with a small
adult brain suggests that birthing of large-brained babies was not driving the
evolution of the pelvis at two million years. Looking at sexual dimorphism. Australopithecus exhibit a greater degree of sexual dimorphism than in
modern humans and chimpanzees. They possess body weights
between 25 to 60 kilograms with males at the high end
and females at the low. Females weighed somewhere between 50 and 70% of male body weight. In modern humans, females weigh about 85% of the male body weight. The degree of sexual dimorphism has implications on social organization, as well as mating systems. Primate species with
higher sexual dimorphism are characterized by intense
male-to-male competition. As Larsen has observed, although chimpanzee adult males express aggressive behavior
toward one another, they tolerate each other, live in multi-male kin
groups, and are cooperative. Especially in defending territory. Australopith social organization may similarly have been characterized by multi-male cooperating kin groups. So, what are the
evolutionary relationships? Reconstructing hominid phylogenies
is extremely problematic and highly controversial. There is no consensus
among paleoanthropologists on how to go about it in the first place. Does one use age of the
fossil, geographical locality, morphological traits? And, if so, how many of those
morphological traits to use? Thus there’s no single
universally accepted phylogeny. My preference is not in drawing lines connecting one species to another. But documenting morphological traits and reasoning about the implications of that in time and space. In conclusion, there are
three major conclusions that can be drawn from the studies we have about australopithecines. One, all australopithcines
features considered together denote small-bodied,
small-brained, robust-jawed, bipedal apes that retained a
substantial arboreal component to their locomotor repertoire. Available morphological
evidence demonstrate that “the evolutionary
transition from small-bodied and perhaps more
arboreal-adapted hominins, such as Australopithecus
africanus, to a larger bodied, possibly full-striding terrestrial biped, such as Homo erectus,
occurred in a mosaic fashion.” In terms of stone tool making, we need to investigate the relationship between posture, arm length,
and their internal properties and not just the morphological
traits of the hand to characterize a tool maker. And, with that, thank you. (applause) – Good evening, everybody. Sorry my English is very bad. I can try to speak in English. This is the plan of my presentation. Chadian fossil sites
located in the Chad Basin. And these in to parts. The south basin includes
the present Lake Chad and north basin now is desert and subject to significant
aeolian deflation. They contain the area fossiliferous. And sediment deposits in Basin Chad are mainly lacustrine,
fluviatile, and aeolian. All the terrestrial mammal remains conserved in the Perilacustrine unit. And, as you know, most of old human find in African continent. But just two points in central Africa. The most of part is in South
Africa or in East Africa. This singular situation
led some paleontologists to propose a scenario he
called East Side Story. (laughing) According to this hypothesis,
about 18 million ago, the Rift Valley Formation
caused significant change and separated Africa in
two distinct environment. In the west, the dense and humid forests sustain the great apes. In the east, a Savannah landscape favored Australopithecus emergence. So, the man would be born in East Africa. But Brunet and MPFT tested
this scenario in 1994 and initiated expeditions in the Djurab Desert in northern Chad. The Mission Paleoanthropologique
Franco-Tchaienne is a scientific collaboration between Poitiers University in France, N’Djamena University and CNRD in Chad. The MPFT has listed four
sites fossiliferous range between three and seven million years. You see the area fossiliferous. And, to go to Djurab, we would take a car. Geomorphology of Djurab Desert consists of a large flat to
weakly undulating surface except for a few rare feature. And Desert Djurab is
dotted with recent dunes. And fossiliferous sites are out in the middle of this dune. In the field, mostly fossil found in situ. Such as fossil cranium of
anthracotherid in situ. Anthracotherid is a
cousin of hippopotamids. In other cases, fossils
are partially cleared due to significant aeolian deflation. Such as cranium with tusk of elephant. We use different method for excavation and to allow us to collect fossil. We can research in
dispersed rank or in line. Other method meticulous research. These method allow us most case of large specimen identification. And, to find the small
specimen, we proceed to sieving. And sorting of residue to look
for the smallest specimen. The different method. Actually, there are more than
18 fossil are inventoried. It is the most important paleontological collection
in central Africa. Among this association, there
are remains of old hominids. The first is Abel. The name scientific is
Australopithecus bahrelghazali. The first Australopithecus discovered west of the Valley Africa. Chadian hominids display
a mosaic of character. You’ll find derived characters, such parabolic symphysis, flattened chins, asymmetric canine. And we find, also, a primitive character, such premolar with three roots. This character, we name it a new Australopithecus bahrenghazali. What information can we learn
about the discover of Abel? An Australopithecus west of Rift Valley contemporary of Lucy. This discover indicates a bushy
evolution of the human line. And, second, the history
of the distribution of the first hominids is incomplete. So, you must review the
East Side Story scenario. And the research continues. In 2001, we discovered another
hominid we call Toumai. Dated to seven million. The Sahelanthropus tchadensis
have a unique combination of primitive and derived characters that differentiate it from
both current great apes, gorilla and chimpanzees. But also from all other
genera of fossil hominids, Homo, Australopithecus, Kenyanthropus, Ardipithecus, and Orrorin. The new Chadian hominid
is characterized by an elongated cerebral capsules, strong and continuous orbital torus, He have also small
canine with apical wear. This is character like human. And Toumai’s skull is
deformed during fossilization. We reduced it for virtual
cranial reconstruction of Toumai. Studies have made reconstruction
in three dimension and give the normal shape
to the skull of Toumai. Chadian discovery suggest, primo, wide geographic
distribution of old hominid. Second, Toumai, with seven million years, is probably very close to the earliest
chimpanzees-hominin divergence. At least by seven million years ago by previously indicated
by many molecular study. We use dating for the site of Chadian from two approaches,
biochronology and radiochronology. Biochronology is based on comparison with other African sites with ages already known using
mammal evolution degree. Notably proboscideans and primitive pig. By biochronology, the
evolutive degree of mammal range geologic age between
three and seven million for Djurab sites. These results are confirmed
and refined by radiochronology based on the analysis of
the radioactive elements. We also do reconstruction
of paleoenvironment of the Djurab sites. The Djurab sites include aquatic mammals, crocodiles, fish, and amphibious mammals, such hippopotamus and anthracotherid. These animal attested to the
presence of lake or rivers. We find also gallery forest mammals, such primitive rhinoceros
and primitive giraffe. We find also Savannah mammals, such equids and primitive gazella. These animal attest the
presence of woodland environment or open and arid environment. Different method indicate that ancient Chadian habitats
resemble a mosaic of landscapes ranging from forested areas
to vast grassy grasslands and forest gallery. All of these research adds validity in the scientist review and
visited by other journal. Thank you. (applause) – Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’m very happy to be here. And present The Archaeology
of the Konso-Gardula Sites in this institution. My speech outline will be, first, I will start by introducing
the Konso-Gardula sites. Then, I’ll go through the 25
years of archeological research at Konso-Gardula. Focusing on the field
research and findings. And I’ll touch up on
some of the implications. What you see here is map of East Africa. And, as the Konso-Gardula site is well known for its
Acheulean occurrences. Meaning stone tools made on large flakes. Shaped on large flakes. Which appeared as of
1.75 million years ago. My focus will be on sites that are known for what they have in representing this technology. Konso-Gardula is one of those sites. Together with the Kokaselei sites, which is located here in West Turkana. Konso-Gardula is oldest Acheulean site with handaxes that are dated
to be 1.75 million years old. And it’s not only these sites. But there are also other
sites in East Africa. Further north is the Lower
Awash Valley in Ethiopia. And, in Turkana Basin,
in the Olduvai Gulch, we have many other sites. But all aren’t as old as
these windows that we have. This is the Konso. The distribution of the sites
within the Konso-Gardula. We discovered this
site, the Konso-Gardula, in 1991 in a project that
was run by Doctor Berhane, my colleague here. We were working together in those years. We were surveying the whole rift. The Ethiopian part of the Rift Valley. And we discovered several sites. One of these sites happened
to be the Konso sites. And this site was a focus of attention for people who were
interested in that period. The period between 800000
and two million years old. As you can see here, the
oldest sites at Konso-Gardula dated to around 1.75 million
years ago are very rare. There’s only one site that we have. And, when we come to
around 1.6 million years, we have also few sites. But, as of 1.45 million years ago, the yellow shows us the
distribution of sites. The Acheulean becomes more abundant. And, by around 850000 years ago, we have more Acheulean sites everywhere. It’s not only Acheuleans
that we have in Konso. But also Oldowan
technologies are also present in sediments which are all
around 1.75 million years. And all the way to 1.5 million. Here, you have a composite
stratigraphic section of the Konso site. This section represents
200 meters of sediments which has about 30 tuff layers. Difaceous layers which are datable. And around 13 of these were dated. Radiometrically dated. And they were also correlated with already dated tuff layers
in the Turkana Basin. So, we have archeological occurrences from the lowest here, at around 1.92, which are represented
by Oldowan technology. Meaning simple core-flake techniques. But the oldest Acheulean stone tools, represented by handaxes
made on large flakes, appear at KGA-6-A1, here. Just above the KYT tuff,
which is dated at 1,740,000. 1.75 million years. And this age is matched only by the sites that are found in Kokaselei
in western Turkana. As we go higher in the stratigraphy, by around 1.63 million years, we have another important Acheulean site. Meaning a site with abundant handaxes. But the sites are very. It is only a single site. But also, around 1.45 million years, we have the number of
sites that increases. And the technology also
refines through time, as we’ll be looking through. This is to show you one of the sites. The Oldowon site dated
at 1.9 million years. A site called KGA-19. And the Oldowan artifacts
represented there are, as you see here, are represented
by the cobbles and flakes. This is another site. Which is the site that is dated at around 1.75 million years ago. Which we call KGA-6-A1. And what you see here
is our two tuffs here. You see two tuffs. The archeological excavation
is conducted here. And the upper tuff that
you see is dated to 1.74. That is the KYT-2 tuff. And this is excavation. And, as you can see, up there, we have handaxes made on larger flakes discovered in situ through excavations. And the assemblage, as a
whole, when you look at it, you can see that it is flake-based. You see larger flakes. This is the ventral of
these handaxes and picks. And chipping is minimal. And we also find pick forms. Picks, large picks made on large flakes. So, as you can see here, the shape of handaxe is not well attained. And chipping is not that great,
as other Acheulean handaxes. This is the second
oldest site that we have at KGA-4-A2 dated at
1.6 million years ago. You have here the handaxe tuff. And the archeological layer is
just above the handaxe tuff. And our excavation was
conducted just here, because our burden on
this site was higher. And the artifacts that
were Acheulean handaxes that were retrieved from
the KGA-4-A2 look like this. They are better shaped than the ones that we saw at KGA-6-A1. And we see, again, all these handaxes made on large flakes
detached from megacores. Big boulders were used as a core to detach these large flakes in order to make these handaxes. The other most important site that we have in the Konso series. We have about 21 sites in Konso. 21 localities. Out of the 21 localities, the
KGA-10 archeological locality is one of the most important ones. We have about 11. As you can see, there’s 11 locus. Archeological sites that we excavated. And, from this site, we
also found Homo erectus and Australopithecus boisei skulls dated to around 1.45 million years ago. And the Konso-Gardula KGA-10
locality looks like this. This is the first picture that was taken of this site in 1991. And, on the right side, you see how the fossils and the artifacts were eroding out of the sediments when we first arrived there. The KGA-10 archeology
shows Acheulean handaxes which are better shaped
compared to the former ones. Here, you see a crude form of lanceret kind of crude handaxes. That we see bifacial shaping. Contrary to what we saw. Mostly unifacial shaping. And we see the edge regularization also coming into focus. And, in general, from
the 1.75 million years to 1.74 million years, we see the oldest site here at KGA-6-A1. Big boulder, which was used as a core from which large flakes, as you can see, were detached and shaped. And, by KGA-4 time at around 1.4, we continue to see large boulders which were used as cores
with large, giant hammers that were used to detach large flakes. So, the 1.75 to 1.4 million years. Acheulean in Konso can
be summarized as such. When we come to the younger age. This is a KGA-12-A1 site. And you see multiple
layers of tuffs out there. Which were calibrated with tuffs that are found in the Koobi Fora Formation further south in the Turkana Basin. And, from this KGA-12-A1 site, by around 1.25 million years ago, we have better shaped handaxes. So, reduction is well done. The flake scars counts augments. Age is better agrorized. And the platform symmetry
is almost attained. And, when we compare
the KGA-12-A1 artifacts, handaxes which we have here, down, compared to the KGA-4-A2, 1.6
million years old handaxes, we see better platform symmetry here. In contrast with this one. The edge regularization is better. And the platform symmetry
and the scar counts and the invasiveness of the
flake scars is very special. And not only that. Around the same time, at
a site called KGA-8-A1, between 1.4 and 1.3 million years ago, we see predetermination of the flakes that they were going to detach. The hominids knew what kind of flakes they were going to detach from the core. From the megacore that they had. So, we see here the predeterminations. Those hominids had the mental template of the flakes that they detached. In the upper section, you see the arrows. Which shows that the
preparation of the core before the last detachment
of the flake of the end. So, we see a technique
that is commonly known as the Kombewa in that area. Not only that. We also think that, from the techniques that
are applied on this handaxe, on this biface, by 1.3 million years ago, we can permit ourselves to think that, perhaps, soft hammer techniques. Chipping using soft hammer
techiques in order to make better shaped, almost
three-dimensionally symmetric stone tools was attained. It was evident by 800000 years ago at another site that we call KGA-18-A1. We see better refinement and the choice of raw materials. Rocks is more diverse. They went for more fine grained rocks. And the 3D symmetry, as you
can see it here, is attained. And bigger and well
regular kind of handaxes were also made. And the edge regularization was attained. So, the Acheulean industry. The technique of making handaxes, which started by around 1.75
million years ago in Konso. By the way, this is one of
the oldest in the world. Together with the ones that
we have in west Turkana. From the preconception of shape, as you can see here on the left, and intentional shaping, then, by the end of the Lower Pleistocene by around 800000 years, hominids were able to shape
better refined handaxes using soft hammer. Invasive flake scars were there. And you can see the platform symmetry. And the section. Which, together, makes
the 3D symmetry handaxes. So, in summary, what we have in Konso, from 1.75 million years ago all the way to 850000 years ago, is a continuous progressive change of the technologies, the handaxes. It does not mean that there
are less better made handaxes. But these are representatives
indicative of the trend. And, as you can see below, the pick forms continue the same. But the trend with the
handaxes is well demonstrated. Konso is not only about lithic materials. It’s not about making only stone tools. Not only making handaxes from rocks. They were also knapping
bones from large mammoths. At 1.4 million years ago, we
have a handaxe made on bones. Bones which were modified. Maybe for digging. Spirally fractured bones to
extract marrow, possibly, from the bones. And we also have hominids
discovered in this site. Here represented by this mandible and cranial frags is Homo erectus. And there is also one
postcranial up there. And the best known Konso specimen. Australopithecus boisei, which made it to Nature’s cover
page, is represented here. So, in general, we can see an evolution from the Oldowan to
the earliest Acheulean, early Acheulean, then, after 1.45, we have the boisei and the
Homo erectus going together. And with more Acheulean sites
after the 1.4 million years. And, when we compare Konso with what we have in east Turkana, we can say that the
earliest Acheulean in Konso began together with the
appearance of, perhaps, the oldest Homo erectus. And, as Homo erectus was established, the Acheulean was more
developed and took over. And you can even start
finding it everywhere in many sites in Middle East area, several sites in East
Africa, and elsewhere. So, in the case of Lake Turkana, the earliest Konso
Acheulean occurs at 1.75. And several people have hypothesized why Acheulean industry
happened in the first place. Whether it was a phenomenon that appeared earlier with other hominids or with Homo erectus as
Homo erectus started to include more activities
to exploit its landscapes. I would like to thank the Konso Paleoanthropological
Research Projects, which I co-leaded with my
colleague Professor Gen Suwa. And Berhane Aslaw was instrumental. And it was his project which
first discovered the site. And he handed it over to
me and Gen to work on it. And he continued participating. And team-wide, Gidey Wolde-Gabriel, Shegihiro Katoh, Shingi
Nogooka, Hido Nakoya. Our Japanese colleagues
collaborate in this research. And other Ethiopean
colleagues also collaborated in this research. And a grant was provided by
the Japan Ministry of Education and Mitsubishi Foundations. And the Ethiopian Ministry
of Culture and Tourism allows this research. And the Konso community and the southern Ethiopean
regions government have helped us in all our endeavor to do the field and laboratory research. I thank, again, CARTA for
providing me this opportunity. And I thank you. (applause) (relaxing music)

Comments 2

  • There's currently a new species, the Australopithecus Trumptardicus, presiding in the White House…….

    It's known for its big head, very small poorly developed brain, very small hands, but a extreme bloated ego….

  • Isn't there also an admixture from outside Africa with indigenous archaic hominids?

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