The Elements of Evolution (79-4) Stone Age continued


Reflecting a substantial population increase, archeological sites become more abundant in the Upper Paleolithic. This was a consequence of more efficient exploitation of natural resources by later Pleistocene people.

The expansion of human populations followed widespread reproductive success in the wake of technological improvements in tools, food preparation and storage, footwear and clothes, and home-building that accompanied exploitative accomplishment. These feats provided impetuses for migrations to new lands. Human sprawl proceeded apace.

A significant advance in human technology was the firing of clay in pits, which first occurred ~29,000 BCE. Firing fundamentally changes clay’s properties, as well as offering endless potential for shapes. Pottery provided a means for portable food storage and easier cooking that afforded more mobility over greater distances.

By the New Stone Age (12 TYA), the making of tools had transformed into well-honed weaponry: used against prey that would be eaten, or opposition got out of the way as a matter of conquest. Simple bone points give way to elaborate barbed harpoons which required considerable manufacture. The traditional club evolved into the mace, with sharp edges at the end to aid in close combat.

Spears and knives were plentiful. Many were engraved. Killing with style got an early start.