Humans invented the "Swiss Army Knife", 60,000 years ago

We take widespread communication as a given.

Humans invented the "Swiss Army Knife", 60,000 years ago

We take widespread communication as a given. But even a few centuries ago, it would take weeks for a letter to reach the other side of the country.

Researchers from all over the world have made a new discovery that technology transfer and communication are as old as mankind. What do they know? It all boils down to a specific stone tool, also known as a "backed artwork" or, more formal, the "stone Swiss Army knife."

Although it is only five centimeters in length, it is extremely versatile. It was used by our forefathers for almost everything. They also used it to drill and shape wooden objects. The tools are found in many forms all around the globe, including from China to Europe and Australia.

Something interesting took place 65,000 years ago. The same design was followed by all backed artifacts in southern Africa.

The study, which was published in Scientific Reports today, explains that backed artifacts were produced in huge numbers in southern Africa during the Howiesons Poort [technological phase of prehistory].

"Our morphometric analysis shows that the Howiesons Poort-backed artifacts were made to a common template over great distances across multiple biomes."

It is important to note that these tools cannot have been as similar over such large distances if the early humans had spoken to one another.

Paloma De la Pena, Senior Research Assistant at McDonald's Institute for Archaeological Research (Cambridge University), stated in a statement that while the creation of the stone tool was easy, it was difficult to haft the stone to the handle using glue and adhesives. This highlights the fact that they were communicating complex information and sharing it with one another.

"What was striking was the coincidence between the large number of tools made in the exact same shape and the great changes in the climate. She said that she believes this is a social reaction to the changing climate in southern Africa.

This discovery is more than just a demonstration of the network capabilities of our ancient ancestors. It also provides deep insight into why humanity is so successful globally.

Amy Way, an archaeologist at the University of Sydney and Australian Museum, led the research.

She explained that these older exits were overprinted 60-70 million years ago by the major exit, which involved all modern humans who live outside Africa today.

This means that we know exactly when the backed artifacts spread across Africa. Both the success of the exodus out of Africa and the stone Swiss Army knife were dependent on one thing: social networks and strong communication.

Way stated, "This analysis shows that these social connections existed in southern Africa right before the exodus."

In the face of extreme climate change and massive migration, what has kept humanity together is our ability to cooperate. This is important for understanding the past and the future.

Kristofer Helgen (Chief Scientist, Australian Museum) stated that it is crucial to understand why early human populations were successful in order to understand our evolutionary path. "This research gives us new insight into how these social networks contributed to the expansion and spread of modern humans across Eurasia.