Scientists: Early Humans Were Not as Simple as One Would Think
Scientists have discovered evidence that some of the earliest members of the human race, Homo sapiens, were surprisingly advanced.
Scientists say these early humans knew how to use color pigments found in nature, create advanced tools and trade for supplies with other groups of people.
A report on the discovery was published recently in the journal Science.
The scientists said they examined artifacts recovered from southern Kenya. Some of the objects are said to date back to 320,000 years ago. They are about the same age as the earliest-known Homo sapiens fossils found in other parts of Africa.
In the report, the researchers described an ochre pigment that produced a bright-red color. They say this pigment could have been used for body painting. They also found tools made from obsidian, a volcanic rock that can have an extremely sharp edge.
The researchers found evidence of obsidian being transported to the Olorgesailie Basin, up to 88 kilometers away from where the rock was found. This discovery led the scientists to believe it had come from another group through trade. But they did not know what was provided in exchange for the obsidian.
The researchers said the findings show developments in technology and social structures unexpected so early in human history.
Rick Potts is a paleoanthropologist and director of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. He believes that these newly identified mental and social abilities — including recognition of "distant groups, use of pigments and technologies including projectile points — were at the foundation of our species' origin."
Alison Brooks, another paleoanthropologist, is with the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Speaking of the pigment, she said, "The choice of importing the ochre from a distance rather than using a more common local material...argues that having a red face or hair or clothing or weapons also carried a symbolic message of some sort."
The researchers described the obsidian tools they found as smaller, of better quality, and more specialized than larger stone tools used by earlier human species.
The obsidian was used in a number of tools with sharp or pointy edges. The rock was also found in small, sharp points that could be placed at the end of a piece of wood or bone for use as a weapon.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.human race 人类
Some people think that the existence of nuclear weapons is a threat to the future of the human race.
2.a number of 若干；一些
The research begs a number of questions.
3.at the end of 在...尽头
There is a shop at the end of this lane.
4.body painting 人体绘画
In other cultures, the use of body painting is a bit more serious.
5.But they did not know what was provided in exchange for the obsidian.
in exchange for 交换
The trade unions bargained away their rights in exchange for a small pay rise.
I will teach you Chinese in exchange for your teaching me English.
6.Some of the objects are said to date back to 320,000 years ago.
date back to 追溯
My family has a vase, which is said to date back to Ming Dynasty.
Oxford and Cambridge date back to the thirteenth century.
研究人员在报告中描述了一种可产生鲜艳红色的赭色色素。他们说，这种色素可用于人体绘画 。科学家还发现了用黑曜石制成的工具，黑曜石是一种火山岩，其边缘锋利 。
研究人员发现了黑曜石被运往奥洛戈赛利叶盆地的证据，盆地距岩石出土地约88公里。该发现让科学家们确信，这是与其他族群进行物品交易的证据 。但是，与黑曜石进行交换的是何物呢？对此，科学家就无从得知了 。
瑞克·波兹（Rick Potts）是古人类学者，也是位于华盛顿特区的史密斯博物馆所属的美国国家自然历史博物馆研究人类起源项目的负责人。他认为，这些新发现的脑力和社会能力，包括对族群、颜料、以及箭头（尖头器，石制的抛掷尖物）等技术的认知是人类起源的基础 。
另一位古人类学家艾莉森·布鲁克斯（Alison Brooks）任职于华盛顿特区的乔治华盛顿大学。她提及颜料时表示：“从放弃当地更普遍的材料却从远方购入赭石可得知，面赤或红发、红衣、红色武器带有某种象征性的意义” 。