When We First Made Tools

  • Published on: 26 March 2019
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    The tools made by our human ancestors may not seem like much when you compare them to the screen you’re looking at right now but their creation represents a pivotal moment in the origin of technology and in the evolution of our lineage.

    Thanks to Fabrizio De Rossi, Julio Lacerda and everyone else at Studio 252mya for their excellent hominin illustrations. You can find more of their work here: https://252mya.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

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    De Heinzelin, J., Clark, J. D., White, T., Hart, W., Renne, P., WoldeGabriel, G., ... & Vrba, E. (1999). Environment and behavior of 2.5-million-year-old Bouri hominids. Science, 284(5414), 625-629.
    Ferraro, J. V., Plummer, T. W., Pobiner, B. L., Oliver, J. S., Bishop, L. C., Braun, D. R., ... & Hertel, F. (2013). Earliest archaeological evidence of persistent hominin carnivory. PloS one, 8(4), e62174.
    Gabunia, L., Antón, S. C., Lordkipanidze, D., Vekua, A., Justus, A., & Swisher III, C. C. (2001). Dmanisi and dispersal. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews: Issues, News, and Reviews, 10(5), 158-170.
    Harmand, S., Lewis, J. E., Feibel, C. S., Lepre, C. J., Prat, S., Lenoble, A., ... & Taylor, N. (2015). 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 521(7552), 310.
    Kappelman, J. (2018). An early hominin arrival in Asia. Nature, 480.
    Scott, G. R., & Gibert, L. (2009). The oldest hand-axes in Europe. Nature, 461(7260), 82.
    Stout, D., Toth, N., Schick, K., & Chaminade, T. (2008). Neural correlates of Early Stone Age toolmaking: technology, language and cognition in human evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 363(1499), 1939-1949.
    Tuffreau, A., Lamotte, A., & Marcy, J. L. (1997). Land-use and site function in Acheulean complexes of the Somme Valley. World Archaeology, 29(2), 225-241.
    Williams-Hatala, E. M., Hatala, K. G., Gordon, M., Key, A., Kasper, M., & Kivell, T. L. (2018). The manual pressures of stone tool behaviors and their implications for the evolution of the human hand. Journal of human evolution, 119, 14-26.
    Zhu, Z., Dennell, R., Huang, W., Wu, Y., Qiu, S., Yang, S., ... & Ouyang, T. (2018). Hominin occupation of the Chinese Loess Plateau since about 2.1 million years ago. Nature, 559(7715), 608.
  • Runtime : 10:10
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history Middle Awash Valley Ethiopia human ancestors tools stone tools Oldowan tools Lomekwian tools australopithecines Bouri Kanjera South brains Homo erectus Acheulean toolkit hand-axe Dmanisi anthropology hominins


  • Tibor Purzsas
    Tibor Purzsas   1 days ago

    We know how it happened! They showed us in "2001 the space odyssey "...

  • The Insanist
    The Insanist   1 weeks ago

    I can't be the only one who thinks these um "tools" look like normal rocks. Like maybe it's bc Im not a geologist buy I don't see any evidence of human interaction with these

  • jack
    jack   2 weeks ago

    Surely the true landmark in our evolution was the day we understood what a seed really was and what we could do with it. From that point on, technology advances to the wheel and eventually Apollo. Hitting animals over the head all the time does not scream highest intelligence to me, especially when many other animals do this too.

  • xekis
    xekis   1 months ago

    The first tool was the sleazy salesman of the first used wheel.

  • Alexandros Nestoropoulos

    I don't understand these videos sometimes, why mention the Lomekwi site or tools if they have not been proven to be used like the tools that you are talking about and that are actually considered the first used tools (oldawan) 🤨 it's only 10 min long you dont need to fill time

  • Tobin Fabre
    Tobin Fabre   1 months ago

    How do we know that the "stone tools" were tools and not rocks?

  • Shatlyk Penayev
    Shatlyk Penayev   1 months ago

    The more I watch, the more I understand how lucky we are to be alive. Thanks!

  • Diego Hernandez
    Diego Hernandez   1 months ago

    What if humans came out of Antarctica way before it froze over?

  • Stephen Beres
    Stephen Beres   1 months ago

    I walk upright. I use tools. I even use fire. But when I eat more calories, my brain doesn't evolve. I just get fat. What am I doing wrong? 🤔

  • motorcitymangababe
    motorcitymangababe   1 months ago

    I thought the title card was a tortoise head and was very confused

  • Junjun
    Junjun   1 months ago

    Stoneware> fire> electricity>AI.. then?

  • therealCamoron
    therealCamoron   1 months ago

    Can someone help me understand how a higher calorie diet led to evolution of brain size? I understand how it can lead to the species developing larger brains as they grow up, but how does it modify their genetic code they pass on? Or is it just a case of the naturally bigger brained (by genetics) members surviving more often? But then didn't they live in communities and support each other?

  • steve denis
    steve denis   1 months ago

    There must have been many of the early tools past from one generation to the next or other family groupings. .I wonder if the ability to make those tools was lost more than once before the skills to make their own tools was learned again. On a side note once the first tools were made so was the first cave depot thus the earliest descendants of Tim "the Tool man" Taylor.

  • Fer Rosas Córdoba
    Fer Rosas Córdoba   1 months ago

    Oh my godness , i really love the chapters of pbs eons dedicated to humán prehistory, is really so apassioned , i hope in the future more vídeos about the stone ages and the frontier of paleolitic and neolitic 'eons ' UwU

  • J. Geil
    J. Geil   2 months ago

    These videos are by far the most interesting I've seen on youtube. Seriously, thank you for this series.

  • Fritz
    Fritz   2 months ago

    I still can't make any tool...

  • Damion White
    Damion White   2 months ago

    Laugh if you want to but until North America, particularly the Ohio river valley, is included in the research the story of human evolution will never be told correctly. Kentucky and Ohio are polluted with the same type of tools and it's clear that places like Lexington Kentucky were once home to a group of people who had no knowledge of flint knapping

  • GarGarComedy
    GarGarComedy   2 months ago

    How did your awesome ponytail evolve? 🤣

  • Psiberzerker
    Psiberzerker   2 months ago

    Blisters, and Callouses: This is often overlooked, even in academia, but Primates don't get blisters on their hands. IDK how much experimenting you've done with tool-making, but you do get a lot of blisters, pretty quickly, and I have to think that this is a tool-making adaption.

  • ً ً
    ً ً   2 months ago

    lesson learned: create tools manually to become smart.

  • n m
    n m   2 months ago

    The music in all of the eons videos is soo Good

  • MrCaptainkirk1984
    MrCaptainkirk1984   2 months ago

    I'm watching this entire human evolution playlist and it's like a 2 hour celebration of humankind I've always dreamed of experiencing. We are terrifying and amazing, all in one. The REAL deal.I hope our descendants spread to the stars and we never let the light of our consciousness or cultures go out.

    PA5ANG 5HERPA   2 months ago

    Helps me sleep. So i let it play by my side at night.

  • Kendall Alvis
    Kendall Alvis   2 months ago

    I love your videos and now I can prove to my friend we’re 99% gorilla

  • NiceManAidan
    NiceManAidan   2 months ago

    0:05 so things haven’t changed much there huh?

  • Mahesh M
    Mahesh M   2 months ago

    Stone and Fire have been pivotal in human survival Ancient religions respect revere and worship stones Fire etc( not withstanding what some newer religions dogmatically state)Stone worship and idol worship is ingrained in human psychePeter Pytor pedro Pete Fyodor Petrolina etc etc mean stone or stone God.India with its Hinduism.and buddhism has been the land of trillion trillion idols Kallapa Kallesh common names in south india etc mean stoneThe lingayat sect of hindus and many others in india carry a small stone object called lingam on their bodies throughout ther life Even today all humans are stone users Silicon which is present in all electronic gadgets is nothing but stone

  • SeanNotConnery
    SeanNotConnery   2 months ago

    the dude who made those rocks was probably DROWNING in it

  • Juan Lona
    Juan Lona   2 months ago

    When Bows and Arrows were first invented "I wanna stab this guy but he is all the way over there"

  • erik molina
    erik molina   2 months ago

    I love all the videos about ancient life, but this one was extraordinary, I cannot explain with words how exited i got watching this one! Could you please make one on plant domestication and human evolution linked to technology?

  • TeddyP
    TeddyP   2 months ago

    The theory that the use of tools led to higher caloric meals which in turn led to the development of larger brains doesn't make sense! If this is true, why wouldn't the true carnivores of the time have evolved to grow larger brains and become more advanced than our ancestors? They after all were getting the most caloric intake!

  • Lj Vahle
    Lj Vahle   3 months ago

    Austrakopithecus Afarensis made the first stone tools 3.3 million years ago

  • YOU 6000
    YOU 6000   3 months ago

    I used the tools to make the tools.

  • Marco Dellacà
    Marco Dellacà   3 months ago

    i usually like dinosaur and stuff...but this one..mindblowing

  • Blind Squid
    Blind Squid   4 months ago

    When stone tools were invented axe murder became possible.