Cognitive Evolution Essay

857 words - 4 pages

The emergence of modern cognition has been fundamental in separating early humans from our primate predecessors but archaeology and anthropology has provided diverse arguments the precise moment this came to be. There have been separate claims that the modern mind could have come to be when early humans created the first stone tools, the first personal ornamentation or the first artworks. In a deeper analysis it become clearer that the first complex thought came about not from any of those single events but rather a combination of the first two scenarios mentioned as the third scenario supports the claim. The human spark cannot be identified by the development of technology alone but rather ...view middle of the document...

The creation of stone tool was indeed significant in establishing modern cognition but it was the addition of beads for personal ornamentation which finalised this transformation which defined human beings. What is vital is that these sponge beads do not hold any practical application and were manufactured in the smallest physical size possible while a replication study on ostrich eggshells revealed that it would have required 17 minutes to produce. (Bednarik 2005, Pg. 545) These Acheulian Beads eggshell beads are similar to stone tool in that they both would have required knowledge of symmetry and of perfect geometric forms, which is coherent with that modern cognition. What is significantly different in the beads is their ability to portray symbolic meaning that was previously unidentifiable in stone tools. The deliberate investment in resources and skills could reflect as suggested, charms for good luck or protection, complex society built on status, economic, ethnic, emblem or ideological meanings. (Bednarik 544) These beads are iconic because they the progression of motor skills represented technology associated with stone tools and the cognitive skills by that allowed more complex social aspects such as class and belief systems to be concomitant with modern cognition.
The argument placed forth on the formation of art as the inauguration of modern cognition has not contradicted but supported the concept that modern humans emerged with the combination of stone tools and personal ornamentation being mastered. Art demonstrates the formalisation of both these areas of cognition into a uniformed expression of culture. The depiction of art itself does not demonstrate the start of human cognition but rather it is...

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