ev. of intelligence/tools etc

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Sat, 4 Mar 1995 12:23:15 CST

I thought those of us already familiar with our navels might want
to return to something interesting. Jeremy O. suggested a few days
ago that we might want to take a look at the evidence needed to
support the various positions we have been discussing. It seems
this is a good idea. First we need some testable hypotheses.
Anyone have any ideas? I don't have any good ones, but I'll give it
a shot. First, I'd like to assume that the selective pressures that
lead to tool manufacture and use continued to drive the evolution
of tools and culture for a long time after the initial kick. Is there
a problem with this assumption? Secondly, I think we need to talk
about a period well represented in the archeological record that *clearly*
shows a shift from one industry to the next more or less contemporaneous
with a shift in the predominance of one hominid form over another. It
would also be useful if we knew something about changes in subsistence

Hypothesis1: If tool manufacture and use is the motor for the evolution
of intelligence, then the new industry should precede the new hominid

Hypothesis2: If new subsistence requirements are the motor for the evolution
of intelligence, then evidence of the shift in subsistence should precede
the new hominid form.

Hypothesis3: If tool manufacture and use are the consequences of other
pressures for the evolution of intelligence, then the new hominid form
ought to precede the shift in technology.

Hypothesis4a: If the evolution of intelligence is the result of social
pressures rather than subsistence pressures or tool manufacture, then
the new hominid form should precede the new tools and should show
evidence of subsistence patterns like those of the preceding form.

Hypothesis4b: If the evolution of intelligence is the result of social
pressures then we should see an increase in the density of hominid
populations preceding evidence for complex intelligence (i.e., tools
and symbolic artifacts).

I'm not an archeologist so please go easy on me (although I would like to
know the glaring problems with the above and with the following).

I suggest we look to the Middle- to Upper-Paleolithic transition
in Europe, because (1) there are a lot of sites, (2) there is a
clear distinction between the two technologies, (3) there are two
hominid forms present more or less contemporaneously, and (4) the
archeological record is pretty good (compared to Oldowan sites,
I think) and we are all likely to know at least a little about it.

H1: Reject. The new industry does not precede the new hominid form.
If I'm not mistaken the first AMHs in Europe are associated with
Mousterian industry.

H2: I don't know the evidence for subsistence for this time.

H3: Cannot reject. The new form does precede the tools.

H4a: See H2 & H3.

H4b: Cannot reject. If we can take the density of sites as any indication
of the population density, then we can say there was an increase in the
population density around the time AMH comes in the picture and the increase
precedes the shift in technology.

Ok, so this is a really modest attempt. I would like to hear others'
objections/comments on this. Also, it would be nice if some more
knowledgeable people than I could provide some hypotheses regarding this
discussion. I for one am not satisfied w/ rhetorical arguments or claims
that this is too complex for our simple minds. Also, by hashing out a
few workable hypotheses we can (follow Bob Graber's advice) and apply
the rule of parsimony. But, as far as I'm concerned, until we sift through
our assumptions and come up with some testable ideas all the arguments
are equally parsimonious.

Rob Quinlan