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2012 News Coverage

2012 Featured Science

A Hello to Arms: Early and enduring microlith technology
gave modern humans the edge

Nature Print edition cover

11.22.2012
The modern human lineage appeared in Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, but the roots of modern human technology are much less clearly defined. Curtis Marean and colleagues describe a previously unrecognized advanced stone tool technology from Pinnacle Point in South Africa, dating back to around 71,000 years ago. Previously observed signs of such activity have been less definitive, seeming to appear and disappear — perhaps because of poor sampling — but the current work indicates that these tools persisted for some 11,000 years. The technology is dominated by heat-treated stone 'bladelets' that are thought to have been components of composite tools. The technology provides strong evidence for advanced projectile weapons such as spearthrowers, or even bows and arrows. The authors speculate that weapons made using such bladelets may have been pivotal to the success of modern humans as they left Africa and encountered Neanderthals. 

Cover art by Erich Fisher. 

Nature article at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7425/abs/nature11660.html (subscription may be needed to view full article)

 Smithsonian Magazine online

Tree Climbers, Wood Eaters, and More: The Top 10 Human Evolution Discoveries of 2012

12.07.2012
Published in the journal Science on November 16, 2012, IHO-affiliated doctoral student Benjamin Schoville, researcher Kyle Brown, and postdoctoral researcher Jayne Wilkins (with University of Toronto at time of publication) and Michael Chazan, reported on a discovery that documents the earliest evidence for early humans attaching a stone tip to a wooden shaft to use as a spear. The date, at 500,000 years ago, is 200,000 years earlier than previously thought. The research was widely covered in international and national media and was included in this "Top 10" both the Smithsonian Magazine online and in Scientific American's year end review of the most fascinating discoveries of 2012. The above Nature research was also included in Smithsonian's "Top 10" stories.

Science article at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6109/942.full (subscription may be needed to view full article) 

ASU News (top)

Oldest spear points date to 500,000 years
11.15.2012
https://asunews.asu.edu/20121115_stonespears
ASU Homepage 11.16.2012
ASU News [Now] (Daily and Weekly issues) 11.16.2012
ASU Insight 11.16.2012
EurekAlert! 11.15.2012 

Small lethal tools have big implications for early modern human complexity
11.07.2012
https://asunews.asu.edu/20121107_marean_tools
ASU Homepage coverage
ASU News [Now] (Daily) 11.08.2012
ASU News [Now] (Weekly Update) 11.09.2012
CLAS ENews 11.2012 
EurekAlert! 11.07.2012 
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-11/asu-slt110512.php

In the baboon social network: “Nice” gals may finish first
10.16.2012
https://asunews.asu.edu/10162012_silk_baboons
ASU Homepage coverage
ASU [Insight] 10.19.2012
ASU News 10.19.2012

Events mark 30th anniversary of ASU’s scientific look into human origins
04.09.2012
https://asunews.asu.edu/20120409_IHOAprilevents
ASU Homepage coverage
ASU News coverage

 

External Media (top)

The most fascinating human evolution discoveries of 2012
ScientificAmerican.com
12.19.2012
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/12/19/the-most-fascinating-human-evolution-discoveries-of-2012/ 

Tree climbers, wood eaters, and more: The top 10 human evolution discoveries of 2012
Smithsonianmag.com
12.17. 2012
http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/hominids/2012/12/tree-climbers-wood-eaters-and-more-the-top-10-human-evolution-discoveries-of-2012/ 

A Hello to Arms: Early and enduring microlithic technology gave modern humans the edge
Nature (print edition, cover story)
11.22.2012 

Stone-tipped spear may have much earlier origin
Los Angeles Times
11.16.2012
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/16/science/la-sci-hafting-spears-20121116 

Stone spear tips surprisingly old—“Like finding iPods in ancient Rome”
NationalGeographic.com
11.16.2012
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/11/121116-stone-spear-tips-science-human-neanderthal-hunting/ 

Oldest examples of hunting weapon uncovered in South Africa
ScienceNews.org
Web edition: 11.15.2012
Print edition: 12.15.2012
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/346464/description/Oldest_examples_of_hunting_weapon_uncovered_in_South_Africa 

Nature podcast: Curtis Marean

Science 360 Radio show: Curtis Marean
http://www.science360.gov/radio 

The birth of weapons: Researchers discover man began hunting with stone-tipped spears 200,000 year earlier than previously thought
DailyMail.co.uk
11.15.2012
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2233557/The-birth-weapons-Man-began-hunting-stone-tipped-spears-200-000-year-earlier-previously-thought.html 

Stone me! Spears show early human species was sharper than we thought (Wilkins/Schoville)
TheGuardian.co.uk
11.15.2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/nov/15/stone-spear-early-human-species 

Archaeologists identify spear tips used in hunting a half-million years ago
Phys.org
11.15.2012
http://phys.org/news/2012-11-archaeologists-spear-half-million-years.html 

Archaeologists identify oldest spear points
Science Codex
11.15.2012
http://www.sciencecodex.com/archaeologists_identify_oldest_spear_points-102218

Oldest examples of hunting weapon uncovered in South Africa
Science News
11.15.2012
12.15.2012, print edition Vol 182 (12): 5
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/346464/description/Oldest_examples_of_hunting_weapon_uncovered_in_South_Africa

Stone-tipped tools older than thought
UPI.com
11.15.2012
http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/11/15/Stone-tipped-weapons-older-than-thought/UPI-23981353027905/

Clear spearpoints found in South Africa
WhyFiles.org
11.15.2012
http://whyfiles.org/2012/making-spears/

Stone tools point to creative works by early humans in Africa
New York Times, Science
(print edition) 11.13.2012
(online 11.12.2012)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/13/science/evidence-of-persistent-modern-human-behavior-in-africa.html?_r=0

Habilidade milenar
Correio Braziliense.com (Brasil)
11.09.2012
http://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/app/noticia/eu-estudante/me_gerais/2012/11/09/me_gerais_interna,332641/habilidade-milenar.shtml

Time’s arrows
The Economist
11.10.2012
http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21565921-some-pieces-ancient-weapons-may-illuminate-modern-mans-evolution-times-arrows

В Южной Африке обнаружены древнейшие орудия труда
(In South Africa, found ancient tools)
Vesti (Russia)
11.09.2012
http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=954652?cid=2161

Pilspetsar vittnar om manniskans ursprung
(Arrowheads testifies to man's origin)
Swedish Broadcasting Corporation
(www.sr.se)
11.09.2012
http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=415&artikel=5341184

Ancient tool use (Broadcast interview)
BBC Radio 4: Material World
11.08.2012
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nq7dd

African blades suggest complex early society
CBC News
11.08.2012
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/11/08/microliths-early-humans.html

Deadly tools discovered: Humans masters of technology 71,000 years ago
ForexTV.com
11.08.2012
http://www.forextv.com/forex-news-story/deadly-tools-discovered-humans-masters-of-technology-71-000-years-ago

Early man’s weapons give an insight into his skills and intelligence
French Tribune.com
11.08.2012
http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/1214386-early-man-s-weapons-give-insight-his-skills-and-intelligence

Ancient stone tools suggest early humans showed ingenuity earlier than previously thought
Huffington Post
11.08.2012
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/ancient-stone-tools-early-humans_n_2089661.html

‘Bladelets’ excavated from prehistoric SA site
Independent Online (South Africa)
11.08.2012
http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/science/discovery/bladelet-find-at-prehistoric-sa-site-1.1419605#.UPiZz78eWbI

Scientists: Humans had advanced tools 71,000 yrs ago
Latino Fox News
11.08.2012
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/11/08/scientists-humans-had-advanced-tools-71000-yrs-ago/

‘Hi tech’ projectile weapons made humans dominant species
Moneycontrol.com (India)
11.08.2012
http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/features/hi-tech-projectile-weapons-made-humans-dominant-species_779865.html

SA find shows cavemen weren’t thick
News24.com (South Africa)
11.08.2012
http://www.news24.com/Green/News/Caveman-was-not-thick-skulled-study-20121107-2

What made us human? Being ARMED with lethal ranged weapons
The Register (London)
11.08.2012
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/08/early_human_weapons_tools_vs_neanderthals_africa/

Early humans made weapons
Science Alert/Australia and New Zealand
11.08.2012
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20120811-23843.html

Caveman was not thick-skulled: Study
Straits Times (Singapore)
11.08.2012
http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/technology/story/caveman-was-not-thick-skulled-study-20121108

Humans made projectile weapons 71,000 years ago
TG Daily
11.08.2012
http://www.tgdaily.com/general-sciences-features/67368-humans-made-projectile-weapons-71000-years-ago

Humans made advanced stone tools 71,000 years ago
Times of India/ ZeeNews.com (India)
11.08.2012
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-11-08/science/34993951_1_stone-age-human-evolution-technology
http://zeenews.india.com/news/eco-news/humans-made-advanced-stone-tools-71-000-years-ago_810034.html

Homens da caverna produziam ‘armas’ antes do que se imaginava
VEJA.com (Brazil)
11.08.2012
http://veja.abril.com.br/noticia/ciencia/homens-da-caverna-produziam-artefatos-complexos-antes-do-que-se-imaginava

Complex tool discovery argues for early human smarts
CBS News
11.07.2012
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57546517/complex-tool-discovery-argues-for-early-human-smarts/

When did humans get smart? Maybe a lot earlier than some thought
Christian Science Monitor
11.07.2012
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/1107/When-did-humans-get-smart-Maybe-a-lot-earlier-than-some-thought

El ‘arma letal’ de los primeros humanos modernos
ElMundo.com (Spain)
11.07.2012
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2012/11/07/ciencia/1352305362.html

Complex tools show off intelligence of early humans, says study
GlobalPost.com
11.07.2012
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121107/complex-tools-show-intelligence-early-humans-says-study

Lethal weapons may have given early humans edge over Neanderthals
The Guardian (UK)
11.07.2012
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/nov/07/lethal-weapons-early-humans-neanderthals

Scientists discover humans made sophisticated tools 71,000 years ago
Hispanically Speaking
11.07.2012
http://www.hispanicallyspeakingnews.com/latino-daily-news/details/scientists-discover-humans-made-sophisticated-tools-71000-years-ago/19715/

Stone-age humans began using lethal technology 71,000 years ago to fight Neanderthals
The Independent (UK)
11.07.2012
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/stoneage-humans-began-using-lethal-technology-71000-years-ago-to-fight-neanderthals-8294599.html

The modern human may have emerged 71,000 years ago early tools suggest
Latinos Post
11.07.2012
http://www.latinospost.com/articles/6596/20121107/modern-human-emerged-71-000-years-ago.htm

Complex tool discovery argues for early human smarts
LiveScience.com
11.07.2012
http://www.livescience.com/24607-complex-tool-discovery-early-human-brain.html

Early humans tooled up
Nature.com
11.07.2012
http://www.nature.com/news/early-humans-tooled-up-1.11765

Sharpening the mind
Nature: News & Views
11.07.2012
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7425/full/nature11751.html
(commentary on Marean et al research)

Small lethal tools have big implications for early modern human complexity
Science Codex
11.07.2012
www.sciencecodex.com/small_lethal_tools_have_big_implications_for_early_modern_human_complexity-101600

Early humans handed down toolmaking tech
Science Now
11.07.2012
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/11/early-humans-handed-down-toolmak.html?ref=hp

Oldest arrowheads hint at how modern humans overtook Neandertals
ScientificAmerican.com

11.07.2012
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/11/07/oldest-arrowheads-hint-at-how-modern-humans-overtook-neandertals/

Tools hint at earlier start for human smarts
The Wall Street Journal
11.07.2012
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323894704578105004000070778.html

Prehistoric Autopsy
BBC2
Television broadcast 10–22, 23, 24, 2012
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nlzsh
Episode concentrating on interview with Johanson and Australopithecus afarensis on October 24.

NOVA Science Now: What makes us human?
Broadcast on national PBS stations
10.10.2012
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/what-makes-us-human-pro.html
Donald Johanson and Zeresany Alemseged interviews featured; watch complete episode online

For some primates, survival of the nicest
Science
10.01.2012
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/10/for-some-primates-survival-of-th.html?ref=em

Social ties and innovative thinking help humankind survive
Stellenbosch University News, South Africa
06.15.2012
http://blogs.sun.ac.za/news/2012/06/15/social-ties-and-innovative-thinking-help-humankind-survive/
Curtis Marean lecture at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies

UN names ASU sustainability dean a ‘Champion of the Earth’
ASU News
06.04.2012
https://asunews.asu.edu/20120604_UNchampionlaureate
Sander van der Leeuw among the six winners of the 2012 United Nations Champions of the Earth award.

National Geographic Weekend (Johanson interviewed)
Episode 1223
06.03.2012
http://radio.nationalgeographic.com/radio/ng-weekend-archives/1223/

New light on revolutions that weren’t (Schoville research)
Science
05.2012
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/05/new-light-on-revolutions-that-we.html

How Homo sapiens became masters of the planet (Tattersall Science Friday interview)
NPR: Science Friday
04.06.2012
http://www.npr.org/2012/04/06/150123937/how-homo-sapiens-became-masters-of-the-planet

 

Noted + Quoted (top)

How ancient Africans were the first nerds: Birth of technology traced back 70,000 (Marean quoted)
Mail Online

12.06.2012
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2243946/How-ancient-Africans-nerds-Birth-technology-traced-70-000-years-continents-southern-tip.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Meet the family: The models that claim to reveal our ancestors in unprecedented detail
Mail Online

10.22.2012
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2221516/Meet-family-The-models-reveal-ancestors-unprecedented-detail.html
Detailed full-size reproduction of Lucy.

Primal urges (Schwartz quoted)
BrisbaneTimes.com.au

10.20.2012
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/lifestyle/primal-urges-20121015-27lqg.html

Exploring the Cradle of Humanity reveals genetic traces of extinct human species (Marean quoted)
Philly.com

09.24.2012
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/Exploring-the-Cradle-of-Humanity-Reveals-Genetic-Traces-of-Extinct-Human-Species.html

New fossils hint at ancestral split: African discoveries point to two early species in the human genus (Johanson quoted)
Science News

09.08.2012
www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/342885/title/New_fossils_hint_at_ancestral_split

Multiple human species were likely the norm (Kimbel quoted)
Philadelphia Inquirer/philly.com

08.27.2012
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/Human-Family-.html

Planet of the apes: The human race, all alone in our genus (Kimbel quoted)
Philly.com

08.27.2012
http://articles.philly.com/2012-08-27/news/33426019_1_william-kimbel-habilis-african-fossils

Flat-faced early humans confirmed—Lived among other human species (Kimbel quoted)
National Geographic Daily News

08.08.2012
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/08/120808-human-evolution-fossils-homo-nature-science-meave-leakey-flat/

New fossils indicate early branching of human family tree (Tattersall quoted)
New York Times/Science
08.08.2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/science/new-fossils-indicate-offshoots-in-human-family-tree.html?_r=2&ref=science

1.9 million year old fossil of human ancestor found in South African lab (Johanson quoted)
Fox News.com
07.13.2012
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/07/13/human-ancestor-fossils-hidden-in-plain-sight-in-lab-rock/

Human ancestor fossils hidden in plain sight in lab rock (Johanson quoted)
Live Science.com
07.12.2012
http://www.livescience.com/21567-human-ancestor-fossils-rock.html
msnbc.com
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48167922/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.UE-7db9dp6M

This pre-human ate like a chimp (Kimbel quoted)
msnbc.com/Cosmic Log
06.27.2012
http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/06/27/12430341-this-pre-human-ate-like-a-chimp?lite

Could a renewed push for access to fossil data finally topple paleoanthropology’s culture of secrecy? (Johanson quoted)
ScientificAmerican.com

05.08.2012
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/05/08/could-a-renewed-push-for-access-to-fossil-data-finally-topple-paleoanthropologys-culture-of-secrecy/

How did humans evolve to walk upright? Fossil discovery complicates the picture (Johanson quoted)
Christian Science Monitor
03.29.2012
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0329/How-did-humans-evolve-to-walk-upright-Fossil-discovery-complicates-the-picture.-video

Fossil foot indicates new prehuman species (Johanson quoted)
The New York Times

03.28.2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/science/african-foot-fossil-indicates-another-hominin-species-lived-with-lucy.html?_r=0

Australopithecus sediba could rewrite our evolutionary history (Kimbel quoted)
IO9.com

03.20.2012
http://io9.com/5894866/why-australopithecus-sediba-could-rewrite-our-evolutionary-history

Human evolution: Cultural roots (Marean quoted)
Nature
vol. 482, issue 7385

02.15.2012
http://www.nature.com/news/human-evolution-cultural-roots-1.10025 

 

Interactive Media (top)

Video: Opgrawings by Pinnacle Point
DieBurger.com (SA/in Afrikaans)

11.09.2012
http://www.dieburger.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/VIDEO-Opgrawings-by-Pinnacle-Point-20121109

Lucy founder visits Bucks’ students (video)
Phillyburbs.com

05.02.2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUhr0Vs7CMQ&feature=plcp&noredirect=1
http://www.phillyburbs.com/videos

Travel to Lucy discovery site: Hadar, Ethiopia
Ethiopian Community Television
02.13.2012
http://www.ectv.org/2012/02/travel-to-lucy-discovery-site-hadar-ethiopia/
Video during January–February 2012 IHO Ethiopia Tour

 

Popular Media (top)

Lucy skeleton discoverer speaks on campus
TCU360.com
(Texas Christian University)
11.14.2012
http://www.tcu360.com/campus/2012/11/16446.lucy-skeleton-discoverer-speaks-campus

Milford students get insight from archaeologist
Milford Daily News
10.12.2012
http://www.milforddailynews.com/features/x1890059096/Milford-students-get-insight-from-archaeologist?zc_p=1

Lucy discoverer to speak at library: Donald Johanson will discuss human origins
Idaho Mountain Express and Guide
09.14.2012
http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005143892#.UP8qOb81G1Y

100 days of science: “Lucy” discoverer’s institute is in AZ
Arizona Daily Star
08.21.2012
http://azstarnet.com/news/science/days-of-science-lucy-discoverer-s-institute-is-in-az/article_3d0d8662-5bb8-5d79-b79f-693f48418f93.html (no longer online)