First Hominins


Australopithecine Tool Users

I’ve been hired by Sarah Hrdy to produce two images of hominins; one of very early tool users and another showing a cooperative family grouping. In this piece, I chose to represent Australopithecines, perhaps afarensis or sediba, using rocks to crack nuts. Notice how carefully the juvenile is watching the demonstrator.  Working on these projects is  the most fun I’ve had in ages. I had no idea I liked the human form so much. It’s fascinating to try and produce emotional expression through body language. Plus, I’m actually illustrating concepts from my own field of research. How great is that!

4 thoughts on “First Hominins”

  1. This image caught me. I have a collection of historic lithic tools I have thought about quite a lot. These tools get categorized by cultures and a particular pattern probably existed for generations until someone got an idea to do something different and it is interesting to see the process of development over time.

    What you are depicting probably led to the accidental discovery that certain stones have a conicoidial flaking property and patern (like flints) when struck together. By accident you may be depicting the discovery of the first manufactured stone tool, a flake or shard that could be used to cut skin or meat. They are often called “finger scrapers”.

    1. Our ancestors undoubtedly began by using unmodified stones as in this illustration and accidentally formed flake tools. However, it is an interesting question to think how long did it take for them to consistently replicate flaked tools, to be able to recognize the right rocks as you point out, and then to develop a technique for doing it well.

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