Timing of Human Brain Evolution

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  • While crude stone tools crafted by human ancestors beginning about 2.5 million years ago likely were an indirect consequence of bipedalism (walking upright) — which freed up the hands for new functions
  • the first inklings of a developing super-brain likely began about 1.6 million years ago when early humans began crafting stone hand axes, thought by Hoffecker and others to be one of the first external representations of internal thought.
  • The emerging modern mind in Africa was marked by a three-fold increase in brain size over 3-million-year-old human ancestors like Lucy, thought by some to be the matriarch of modern humans.
  • Humans were producing perforated shell ornaments, polished bone awls and simple geometric designs incised into lumps of red ochre by 75,000 years ago. “With the appearance of symbols and language — and the consequent integration of brains into a super-brain — the human mind seems to have taken off as a potentially unlimited creative force,” Hoffecker said.
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