Film Summary 1 Essay

Submitted By lawils2690
Words: 1062
Pages: 5

Just beginning in anthropology, the film “Mysteries of Mankind” proved a very valuable resource to have. Throughout the short video, many different examples of techniques were used in analyzing human-like fossils and other data. The audience was introduced to various fossils and artifacts that were dated using either relative dating or absolute dating. A couple of examples that used these two techniques of analysis were the archeological dating technique involving teeth, the visible evidence found on tools, and the excavation of bones and fossilized footprints that provided insight to new archeological data.
Artifact collection of a jawbone and teeth can provide endless clues about our ancestors. Archeological dating of what caused the wear on teeth and molars can provide insight to what the hominids were eating when they were alive. Using scanning electron microscopes, archeologists and anthropologists could get a closer look at the imprints left behind on the teeth. With this technology, distinguishing what food left a particular distinct mark could also shed light on other aspects of the skeletons. Once a specific kind of food was established the idea of the hominids diet came full circle. Finally with the information of the diet, we disproved a common misconception of our ancestors being carnivorous killers. Due to the fact that the marks left behind on the fossils were from plants and nuts, it is more likely our ancestors were vegetarians. However, the problem with relying on a diet to decide on particular behaviors can be challenged when the discovery of tools and distinct tool marks concludes on a different behavioral standpoint.
Although the exact time hunting was established is unknown, the tools and the visible evidence left by the tools give anthropologists an insight on various aspects of our ancestors’ lives. Beginning with studying the tools themselves represents the first evidence of culture by our ancestors. The earliest fossils of tools were represented by only shards of rock that had a rather unclear purpose. It was not until later in the twentieth century that the evolution of the tools proved very important in understanding the sophistication of our ancestors over time. The tools themselves became more refined, sharper, and specialized for particular tasks, which allude to the analysis of how our ancestors matured and evolved. These tools are a good representation of relative dating. While the tools may not provide a specific date in the past, their evolution and purpose set out a relative timeline for anthropologists to refer to when performing research. Knowing how tools were not only made, but also used, can give background on the behaviors of our ancestors. Contrary to the conclusion given by the imprints left behind on teeth, the tools recovered have been distinguished as a source of defense against enemies and weapon for hunting, fighting, and killing prey. Sometimes when archeologists and anthropologists look through skeleton remains of animals, they come across tool marks (also known as cut marks) in the bone. Since each tool leaves a particular mark, the cut marks are vital clues of not only behavior, but they also provide evidence to what our ancestors ate. These findings can even give a relative timeline to when the hominids became successful hunters. Even though these fossils provide countless amounts of information, they can also provide false clues. Due to the fact that the tools, bones, and rocks are left to the elements, what could be presented as a cut mark could simply be a crack from a recent trampling of large animals. However, even though nature can potentially affect the archeological data collected on the tools, it is not impossible to distinguish which is a mark made hundreds of thousands of years ago versus the recent past. In the film, we are introduced to a woman who recreates cut marks in bones and other objects with the same kind of tools that…