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Experimental archaeology and hominid evolution: establishing a methodology for determining handedness in lithic materials as a proxy for cognitive evolution

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Date Issued:
2014
Summary:
Human handedness is likely related to brain lateralization and major cognitive innovations in human evolution. Identifying handedness in the archaeological record is, therefore, an important step in understanding our cognitive evolution. This thesis reports on experiments in identifying knapper handedness in lithic debitage. I conducted a blind study on flakes (n=631) from Acheulean handaxes replicated by right- and left-handed flintknappers. Several flake characteristics significantly indicated handedness, with a binary logistic regression correctly predicting handedness for 71.7% of the flakes. However, other characteristics were not associated with handedness. This is a result of personal knapping styles, as additional analyses show that individual knappers associate with some attributes better than handedness does. Continued work on these methodologies will enable analysis of Paleolithic assemblages in the future, with the ultimate goal of tracking population-level hominid handedness rates through time and using them as a proxy for cognitive evolution and language acquisition.
Title: Experimental archaeology and hominid evolution: establishing a methodology for determining handedness in lithic materials as a proxy for cognitive evolution.
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Name(s): Ruck, Lana, author
Broadfield, Douglas C., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Department of Anthropology
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2014
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 146 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Human handedness is likely related to brain lateralization and major cognitive innovations in human evolution. Identifying handedness in the archaeological record is, therefore, an important step in understanding our cognitive evolution. This thesis reports on experiments in identifying knapper handedness in lithic debitage. I conducted a blind study on flakes (n=631) from Acheulean handaxes replicated by right- and left-handed flintknappers. Several flake characteristics significantly indicated handedness, with a binary logistic regression correctly predicting handedness for 71.7% of the flakes. However, other characteristics were not associated with handedness. This is a result of personal knapping styles, as additional analyses show that individual knappers associate with some attributes better than handedness does. Continued work on these methodologies will enable analysis of Paleolithic assemblages in the future, with the ultimate goal of tracking population-level hominid handedness rates through time and using them as a proxy for cognitive evolution and language acquisition.
Identifier: FA00004325 (IID)
Degree granted: Thesis (M.A.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2014.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Archaeology
Brain -- Evolution
Cerebral dominance
Cognition and culture
Flintknapping
Fossil hominids
Human evolution
Laterality
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004325
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004325
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.