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Did early human ancestors hunt dinosaurs? Are we actually related to apes?

In this episode of Misconceptions, host Justin (@juddtoday) breaks down some common myths about our early human ancestors. From evolution to the real timeline, we're covering all things "us."


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Scientists and historians have long debated what makes us human. Why is our species, homo sapiens, so different compared to our extinct cousins. Anthropologists point to our physiological adaptations that allowed our species to survive when others died out. Okay, sure. But what about our cultural advancements that include everything from cave paintings to Taylor Swift? 

Hi, I'm Justin Dodd, and we're gonna dig deep into a few misconceptions about early humans, from their supposed stupidity to their alleged cohabitation with dinosaurs. Let's get started.


Modern humans invented culture: 

For a long time, the existing fossil evidence seemed to show that homo sapiens demonstrated modern behaviors beginning in the upper Paleolithic (also known as the late stone age) roughly 45,000 years ago. These behaviors included making and using a variety of sophisticated stone tools, living in semi-permanent settlements, fashioning personal ornaments, creating rituals, hunting a variety of small prey, and carving figurines and musical intraments. 

In contrast, earlier homo sapiens who had emerged in Africa about 300,000 years ago were believed to be too primitive to demonstrate any kind of intellectual culture. These so-called archaic homo sapiens supposedly lack the brain power to develop more complex communities and adapt to environmental conditions. 

Archeologists hypothesize that there must have been a sudden burst of cultural development in late stone age Europe that allowed homo sapiens to evolve into recognizably modern humans. There's even a name for this theory: The Paleolithic Revolution Hypothesis. 

But today, thanks to genetics and archaeological discoveries, this Eurocentric narrative is falling out of fashion as we understand more about the rich lives of early humans. There have been several discoveries over the past couple of decades showing that pre upper-paleolithic homo sapiens used tools and made art in places other than Europe.

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