As early humans slowly began to move beyond their African homeland, they took with them one essential item - a handaxe. It is the most widely-used tool humans have created. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, sees just how vital to our evolution this sharp, ingenious implement was and how it allowed the spread of humans across the globe. Including contributions from designer Sir James Dyson and archaeologist Nick Ashton.
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A simple chipped stone from the Rift Valley in Tanzania marks the emergence of modern humans. Faced with the needs to cut meat from carcasses, early humans in Africa discovered how to shape stones into cutting tools. From that one innovation, a whole history of human development springs. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, tells the story with contributions from flint napper Phil Harding, Sir David Attenborough and African Nobel Prize winner Dr Wangeri Maathai.
From http://sydney.edu.au/podcasts/index.shtml A Sydney Ideas Open/Sydney Humanities Salon Co presentation Dr Kirsten McKenzie and Dr Emma Christopher, Department of History, University of Sydney Many Sydneysiders think they know all about the history of their city, but few know that its convict past links it firmly to Africa, a continent many Australians know little about. Emma Christopher and Kirsten McKenzie uncover a forgotten history of abandoned plans and lost hopes, of political objections to sending convicts to Africa and the sufferings of those who were sent there. By revealing the convict connections to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Cape Town, South Africa, they show how very nearly the stories of Africa and Australia came to taking different turns. They are in conversation with Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney and Professor Deidre Coleman, University of Melbourne. September 9, 2010 (Running time 1 hour 21 min, 37.5Mb MP3)
I’m thinking a lot about species concepts as applied to humans, about the "Out of Africa" model, and also looking back into Africa itself. I think the idea that modern humans originated in Africa is still a sound concept. Behaviorally and physically, we began our story there, but I’ve come around to thinking that it wasn’t a simple origin. Twenty years ago, I would have argued that our species evolved in one place, maybe in East Africa or South Africa. There was a period of time in just one place where a small population of humans became modern, physically and behaviourally. Isolated and perhaps stressed by climate change, this drove a rapid and punctuational origin for our species. Now I don’t think it was that simple, either within or outside of Africa.
CHRISTOPHER STRINGER is one of the world’s foremost paleoanthropologists. He is a founder and most powerful advocate of the leading theory concerning our evolution: Recent African Origin or "Out of Africa". He has worked at The Natural History Museum, London since 1973, is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and currently leads the large and successful Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB), His most recent book is The Origin of Our Species (titled Lone Survivors in the US).