Why and how did we (Homo sapiens) evolve into a species that is dependent on its ‘brains’ rather than its ‘brawn’ for our survival and successful spread across the globe? This is an old question, but recent archaeological and palaeoanthropological finds in sub-Saharan Africa, together with breakthroughs in ancient-DNA and palaeo-neurology, are dramatically changing what we thought we knew about human cognitive evolution. Based on our direct involvement with the generation on of primary knowledge about human cognition, Stone Age archaeology, experimental archaeology, neuro-archaeology and living and ancient-DNA, we aim to explore human cognitive evolution from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The core of our investigation is situated around technologies (dating from about 3.3 million years to 10 000 years ago) that were invented and used to extract a variety of foods that helped develop and nourish our increasingly energetically and cognitively ‘hungry’ brains. We flesh out our narrative by interweaving aspects of animal thinking, modern human cognition, brain-selective nutrients, the use of fire, learning and teaching, gene-culture co-evolution and our neurological evolution with the aim to produce a holistic synthesis.
Haidle, Miriam Noël, Michael Bolus, Mark Collard, Nicholas J Conard, Duilio Garofoli, Marlize Lombard, April Nowell, Claudio Tennie, and Andrew Whiten. 2015. The Nature of Culture: An Eight-Grade Model for the Evolution and Expansion of Cultural Capacities in Hominins and Other Animals. JASs Invited Reviews Journal of Anthropological Sciences 93: 43–70. doi:10.4436/jass.93011.
Högberg, Anders and Marlize Lombard. 2016. Still Bay Point-Production Strategies at Hollow Rock Shelter and Umhlatuzana Rock Shelter and Knowledge-Transfer Systems in Southern Africa at about 80-70 Thousand Years Ago. PLOS ONE 11(12):e0168012. http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0168012
Högberg, Anders and Marlize Lombard. 2016. Indications of Pressure Flaking More than 70 Thousand Years Ago at Umhlatuzana Rock Shelter. South African Archaeological Bulletin 71(203):53–59. http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=271406303572538;res=IELHSS
Coolidge, Frederick L, Miriam Noël Haidle, Marlize Lombard, and Thomas Wynn. 2016. Bridging Theory and Bow Hunting: Human Cognitive Evolution and Archaeology. Antiquity 90(349):219–28. http://www.journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0003598X15001398
Lombard, Marlize. 2016. Mountaineering or Ratcheting? Stone Age Hunting Weapons as Proxy for the Evolution of Human Technological, Behavioral and Cognitive Flexibility. Pp. 135–46 in The Nature of Culture. http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-94-017-7426-0_12
Schlebusch, Carina M., Helena Malströom, Torsten Günther, Per Sjödin, Alexandra Coutinho, Hanna Edlund, Arielle R. Munters, Mário Vicente, Maryna Steyn, Himla Soodyall, Marlize Lombard, Mattias Jakobsson. 2017. Southern African ancient genomes estimate modern human divergence to 350,000 to 260,000 years ago. Science. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao6266
Riede, Felix, Niels N. Johannsen, Anders Högberg, April Nowell and Lombard, Marlize. 2018. The role of play objects and object play in human cognitive evolution and innovation. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews, 27(1), 46–59. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21555
Lombard, Marlize and Anders Högberg. 2018. The Still Bay points of Apollo 11 Rock Shelter, Namibia: an inter-regional perspective. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 53(3), 312–340. https://doi.org/10.1080/0067270X.2018.1513240