②2015-8-22CN The Upper Paleolithic Revolution
P1: The Old Stone Age is the earliest period of human development and the longest phase of mankind’s history. It was not till around 30 thousand years ago (or 30 “kya") that the archaeological record reveals the emergence of technical and social advances, which comprised new technologies, hunting techniques, human burials, and an artistic tradition of astonishing competency. This dramatic change was known as the Upper Paleolithic Revolution. It had been traditionally argued that the Upper Paleolithic Revolution was an archaeological phenomenon exclusive to Eurasia. The absence of equivalent evidence in other regions suggested that a fundamental change had occurred in human intellectual development around 40 kya in Europe. However, the recent discovery in the Blombos Cave in South Africa of a block of decorated ochre and then sets of shell beads, dated to around 77 kya, opened up the debate. This supports other evidence of more versatile stone implements and bone tools found in Africa from the same period. Now the Upper Paleolithic Revolution is regarded as the most noticeable evidence for the evolution of modern human behavior.
•P2: Two further questions follow. First, what was happening to the human cognitive process during the 40,000 years or so from innovative usage of stone in the Blombos Cave to the flourishing of human creativity in Europe? Second, during the Pleistocene a series of momentous climatic events occurred—was climate change then a component? The question of whether the sudden transition seen in Europe was built on earlier developments in Africa has been addressed at length by anthropologists Sally McBrearty and Alison Brooks. They argue that the whole issue of the Upper Paleolithic Revolution stems from a profound Eurocentric bias and a failure to appreciate the depth and breadth of the African archaeological record.
In fact, many South African archaeological sites show that the revolution occurred in Africa during the Middle Paleolithic—tens of thousands of years before they appeared in Europe. This is supported by evidence of using new stone tools like the blade and microlithic technology. Replication has shown that blades from the time required a high level of skill to make due to their shape, indicating a higher level of hominid complexity. At the same time, exploitation of aquatic resources began to prosper.
1. Why does the author mention a block of decorated ochre and sets of shell beads?
A. To help make the point that archaeologists regard artistic creations as the highest kind of human achievement
B. To illustrate how the discovery of certain objects makes the discovery of certain other objects more likely
C. To give some of the evidence that has changed archaeologists' thinking about human intellectual development
D. To help explain why archaeologists have been slow to recognize the importance of certain evidence available to them
2. How far back in time do the origins of the more versatile stone implements and bone tools found in Africa go
A. To around 40 kya
B. To around 77 kya
C. To the time of the Upper Paleolithic Revolution
D. To a time before modern "human” behavior had begun to evolve
3. The word "equivalent" in the passage is closest in meaning to
D. widely debated
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