An astonishing discovery has been made recently as the earliest evidence of modern human culture is found in South Africa.
According to BBC News and PNAS, the earliest unambiguous evidence for modern human behavior has been discovered by an international team of researchers in a South African cave. This new discovery provides evidence and insight into human behavior well over 40,000 years ago, over 20,000 years before any other findings.
While there have been discoveries of artifacts from 75,000 years ago, those items seemed to be for more symbolic purposes, which made it difficult for researchers to understand the culture of civilization at the time since there is no one to interpret the meanings. However, the more recent items discovered have a distinct purpose as they bare a similar look to modern day tools used by San hunter-gatherers according to co-author Dr Lucinda Blackwell of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. “You can hold [one of the] ancient artifacts in your left hand and a modern artifact in your right and they’re exactly the same. It’s incredible… the functions are very, very clear.”
Dr. Blackwell and her team of co-authors also noted significant descriptions of the items they found such as notched decorative bones, arrowheads, warthog tusks possibly used as spear heads and the first recorded use of beeswax to attach arrowheads.
According to Dr. Blackwell, when the team initially made the discovery of these poison arrows, they first thought it was a broken arrow. However, by looking at modern tools of the San people at Johannesburg’s Museum Africa, they realized the arrow’s true use. “We had found this long stick that had lots of intentional notches on it… we opened up one drawer and found a whole row of these things with labels on saying ‘poison applicator’.”
While looking for answers about civilizations past, researchers find themselves having more questions than answers. Dr. Blackwell said, “There’s an internal evolution of the San people making stone tools, but when it gets to the organics a whole bunch just arrives at 44,000. There’s clearly a different rate of cultural change in the different materials they used. But we can’t really explain that.”
When compared to the artifacts of the indigenous African San bush people, the recent tools discovered are nearly identical.
Earliest Evidence of Modern Human Culture is Found in South Africa.