=Cultural Evolution= We often associate culture with the tools and artifacts early hominids produce. These are in fact an expression of their culture, but more fundamentally represent ideas that were shared between peoples. Cultural Evolution is any ''learnt behaviour'' (knowledge, attitudes, customs and ideas) Cultural evolution is passed from one generation to the next by '''learning''' '''Cultural & Biological Evolution:''' Cultural and biological evolution have influenced each other. Selection for a bipedal lifestyle (biological evolution) freed up the hands making later cultural developments possible. Likewise, the development of early tools (cultural evolution) resulted in an improved diet, which in turn allowed for the selection (biological evolution) of a larger brain. This in turn aided the further development of tools and so on and so forth. Cultural and biological evolution have fuelled each-other resulting in the fairly rapid evolution of Humans with large brains and sophisticated technologies. ==Cultural Periods -Summary== Early human history is traditionally divided into Stone, Bronze and Iron ages, according to the main materials used. The Stone age can be further broken down into the following periods: '''Lower Paleolithic''' 3 million years ago *Earliest Stone tools introduced by Homo habilis *Began with Oldowan tool industry, utilizing stone flakes and cores *Further development led to the Acheulian tool industry, utilizing the more advanced handaxe (''H. erectus'') '''Middle Paleolithic''' 120,000 years ago *More advanced tools, made from a greater variety of materials. First widely use by ''Homo neanderthalensis'' *The middle Paleolithic is characterized by the Mousterian tool industry, whereby flint was often shaped using the Levallois technique, giving extremely sharp edges. '''Upper Paleolithic''' 35,000 years ago *Tools displaying a much more sophisticated design and greater ingenuity. Associated with the earliest anatomically modern ‘Cro-Magnon’ Homo sapiens *Tools included throwing sticks, harpoons and much finer blades and spearheads made using ‘punch blade’ technique *Culture also included cave paintings and sculptures. '''Mesolithic''' 12,000 years ago *Increased use of smaller finer tools and blades. Often small stone tools / blades (microliths) were incorporated into wooden or bone tools. *These tools were exclusively used by Homo sapiens *Commodities used to make these tools (stone, bone, antler, hides, etc) would have been traded. '''Neolithic''' 10,000 years ago *Neolithic culture is characterized by the development of agriculture. Wheat, corn, potatoes and rice were amongst the first ever domesticated crops. *These crop would provide an excess that could be traded and represent a shift away from the hunter-gather lifestyle and toward a market economy. This in turn would allow for greater population densities and the division of labour. =Cultural Trends= [image:] Some of the earliest stone tool may look fairly similar, however, if more closely examined it becomes apparent that they clearly increase in complexity. Both the length of the cutting edge as well as the total number of blows needed to produce the tool increases. The number of blows needed to produce a tool represents the ingenuity needed to plan or ‘foresee’ what the stone will become. Further developments in the materials used and the techniques used to work them resulted in even more sophisticated tools and a much greater variety of tools (larger tool kits). More complex tools would have placed a greater demand on the brain, selecting for those members with increased intelligence. This in turn would have fuelled the evolutionary shift towards a larger brain. As tools became more and more complex, the ability to communicate ideas and tool making techniques would also have become more and more important. This ability to share ideas is what defines cultural evolution, and intrinsic to our cultural evolution was the development of language and the associated areas of the brain. This may help explain both the relatively rapid expansion of the brain and the rapid cultural developments observed in our most recent ancestors.