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Creatures of Cain$
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Erika Lorraine Milam

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691181882

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691181882.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Battle for the Stone Age

Battle for the Stone Age

(p.41) 2 Battle for the Stone Age
Creatures of Cain

Erika Lorraine Milam

Princeton University Press

This chapter relates the story of how the discovery and spread of scientific knowledge regarding Stone-Age humans and their cultures profoundly changed understandings of anthropology at the time. In this version of the birth of human nature, an evolutionary leap had taken place through the tight interaction of several factors—increased brain size, bipedialism, family structure, a new ecology of life on the savannah, hunting and access to meat, and language—all caught in a maelstrom of positive feedback that resulted in the modern human. In the meantime, new fossil finds had revealed that Australopithecus, with a brain case about one-third the size of modern humans, appeared to use weapons and exhibited something that resembled proto-culture (both assertions were controversial). New primatological evidence, too, demonstrated that baboon and chimpanzee behavior were more complicated than anthropologists had previously thought possible. The former bright line between human and animal thus seemed more like a hazy stripe.

Keywords:   Stone Age, human nature, anthropology, modern humans, proto-culture

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