The George Odell Foundation, in conjunction with Lambda Alpha, presented a lecture, entitled ‘Tipping Points: How Hunting Innovations Impacted Human Evolution’, by Dr. Jayne Wilkins on Jan. 14, 2016.
In this talk, Dr. Wilkins focused on the relationship between the technological innovation of hunting tools and human cognition/social capacity during the Middle Stone Age in Africa. She states that humans are intelligent, innovative and prosocial; claiming we are unique among apes because we express these traits in an exaggerated way, and because we rely heavily on material culture to interact with the environment and with each other. In her lecture, she illustrated how stone tools that preserve traces of their use as hunting weapons help inform us about the timing and nature of the origins of these traits. She outlined new evidence for hunting technologies in the African Middle Stone Age further suggesting that each innovation represents a technological ‘tipping point’ where new cognitive and/or social capacity have been both the cause and the effect. This lecture was free and open to the public with light refreshments served afterwards.