Tools and evolution – worth revisiting.

Back in January BBC Radio 4’s History of Ideas broadcast a piece by Dr Matt Pope of University College London in which he explored the idea and use of technology and how it helped drive human evolution. If you missed it, don’t worry as you can now access it on the Radio 4 website and listen to the podcast.

It is only 10 mins long but it packs a lot into it! There are themes in there which can be linked to a number of areas of the National Curriculum which can feed into programmes of study (POS). There is design and technology obviously, but what of the impact of technology say on human evolution?

A palaeolithic handaxe. This type of tool helped our ancestors access high energy food.
A palaeolithic handaxe. This type of tool helped our ancestors access high energy food.

In terms of human biology, did you know for example that the use of a simple handaxe over the course of 1.8 million years had a significant effect on two key human organs?

In geography, did you know that a simple bone needle helped to expand the habitable range of humans during the ice-ages?

Dr Pope speaks to experts in the field of human evolution (Prof Clive Gamble of University of Southampton) and of the adoption of technology (Prof Tim Ingold of Aberdeen University) and you might be surprised by what they say!

If you would like to hear more, visit the BBC Radio 4 website here History of Ideas

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