CARTA Glossary

Displaying 1 - 37 of 37 defined words for "Impact of Tool Use and Technology on the Evolution of the Human Mind". To see all CARTA defined words, please view the complete glossary.

Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Acheulean (Mode 2) Tools

A stone tool type characterized by oval or pear-shaped bi-faced “hand-axes” and are typically associated with Homo erectus. ~1.76 mya -130 kya.

Archaic Homo sapiens

Earlier forms of Homo sapiens who were anatomically and behaviorally distinct from modern humans.

Aurignacian (Mode 4)

A stone tool type characterized by long, fine blades produced from a prepared cone (Levallois Technique). Tools of this mode also include worked bone and antler points. ~43 kya - 28 kya.

Cortical Fields

A segment of the cerebral cortex that carries out a given function.


Behavior and norms that are shared, learned, and socially transmitted. Human culture includes language, institutions, and the creation of shared meaning.

de Novo

A Latin adverb meaning "from the new." A new genetic variant that is the result of a mutation in a germ cell (egg or sperm) of one of the parents, or a variant that arises in the fertilized egg during embryogenesis.


Deoxyribonucleic acid. The molecule of inheritance, consisting of sequences of the four nucleotide building blocks (ATGC).


A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpreting words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.


Searching for wild food or provisions as opposed to cultivating food crops or keeping livestock.

Frontoparietal Networks

Human frontal and parietal lobes form a network that is crucially involved in the selection of sensory contents by attention.

Gene-Culture Co-Evolution Theory

A branch of theoretical population genetics that models the transmission of genes and cultural traits from one generation to the next, exploring how they interact.

Great Apes

A taxonomic family that was once incorrectly used to denote chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans, but not humans.


A prehistoric stone tool with two faces and is usually made from flint, basalt, sandstone, quartzite, or chert.


A classification comprising all modern and extinct “Great Apes”and humans.


A classification of species comprising human and extinct relatives (ex. Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and Ardipithecus, etc.- not all are ancestral to humans) following the split with the common ancestor with chimpanzees.


The genus that comprises the species Homo sapiens, as well as several extinct species classified as ancestral to, or closely related to, humans.

Homo erectus

An extinct hominin species with fossil evidence from 1.9 million (possibly earlier) to 70 thousand years ago and found from Africa to Indonesia. May have been the first hominin to leave Africa. H. erectus DNA may be retrievable from other species due to archaic admixture. 


A human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals), in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species.

Given the higher contribution from gathering, perhaps they should be called Gatherer-Hunters.

Lomekwian Technology

Currently the oldest known stone tools consisting of 150 artefact found in Lomekwian, Kenya, close to Lake Turkana. ~3.3 mya

Lower Paleolithic

The first subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age. ~3.4 mya- 300 ky.


The soft fatty substance in the cavities of bones that produces red and white blood cells and platelets.

Microlithic (Mode 5)

A stone tool type consisting of small blades or points, called microliths, that were typically used in composite tools, such as an arrow point fastened to a haft. ~35 kya - 3 kya

Middle Paleolithic

The second subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age and consist of use of prepared cores (Levallois Technique) and hafted tools and weapons. ~300 kya -30 kya.

Motor Cortex

The part of the cerebral cortex in the brain where the nerve impulses originate that initiate voluntary muscular activity.

Mousterian (Mode 3)

A stone tool type characterized by hand-axes, scrapers, triangle points, and denticulates produced using a prepared core (Levallois Technique) and is most associated with Neanderthals. ~315 kya to 30 kya


An extinct Eurasian hominin species that existed from 500,000 to 30,000 years ago and interbred with ancient humans and Denisovans.

Obligate Tool User

Use of tools is a necessity. Tool use is an essential part of being human and we are the only known obligate tool users.

Oldowan (Type 1) Tools

A stone tool characterized by simple “choppers” for pounding, breaking, and bashing. ~2.6 mya - 1.7 mya. 


A broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make tools and weapons and is synonymous with Stone Age. It is divided into Lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic, and Upper Paleolithic. ~3.4 mya - 10 kya


Relating to or determined by two or more genes.

Posterior Parietal Cortex

The portion of the parietal neocortex that plays an important role in planned movements, spatial movements, spatial reasoning, and attention.

Prepared Core (Levallois Technique)

A method of creating stone tools by first striking flakes off the stone, or core, along the edges to create the prepared core and then striking the prepared core in such a way that the intended tool is flaked off with all of its edges pre-sharpened.

Primary Somatosensory Cortex

A region of the Neocortex that controls tactile representation from the parts of the body.


A group of mammals that include humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians.


Organisms that search for and feed on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse.

Stone Age

The prehistoric period during which stone was used to make tools and weapons and is synonymous with the paleolithic. ~3.4 mya - 10 kya.

In African archaeology, stone age chronology is divided into Early Stone Age (ESA): ~2.6 mya to ~300 kya; Middle Stone Age (MSA): ~300 kya to ~50 kya; and Later Stone Age (LSA): ~ 50 kya to ~39 kya.

ESA is characterized by the development of the first African stone tools, such as Oldowan technology used by Australopithecines, and the more advanced Acheulean technology, utilized by Homo erectus.

MSA is characterized by a transition from Acheulean to Levallois technology and the earliest known modern human behavior.

LSA is characterized by microlithic industries and punch-struck blades and fully modern human behavior.

Upper Paleolithic

The third subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age, and coincides with behavorial modernity and predates the advent of agriculture. Artefacts include finely crafted stone blades and bone and antler tools, such as harpoons and needles. ~50 kya - 10 kya