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When in our evolution did we humans become so clever, so creative, so boundlessly ingenious? Writer Heather Pringle tackles exactly this question in the cover story of the March issue of Scientific American. The answer, in a nutshell, is rather earlier than scientists traditionally thought, which itself raises all sorts of questions about what factors kindled our ancestors’ cognitive prowess. Pringle marshals considerable evidence of surprisingly ancient innovation—from sophisticated tools to spectacular works of art—to make her case. The list below links to stories that explore many of those finds in greater detail.
Ancient Cut Marks Reveal Far Earlier Origin of Butchery
Humans Tamed Fire by 1 Million Years Ago
Human Ancestors Made Deadly Stone-Tipped Spears 500,000 Years Ago
Oldest Arrowheads Hint at How Modern Humans Overtook Neandertals
When the Sea Saved Humanity