The acheulean handaxe: More like a bird's song than a beatles' tune

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Corbey, Raymond; Jagich, Adam; Vaesen, Krist; Collard, Mark
Year of Publication: 2016
Journal: Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Volume: 25
Number: 1
Pagination: 6-19
Publisher: Wiley Online Library
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 1520-6505

The goal of this paper is to provoke debate about the nature of an iconic artifact—the Acheulean handaxe. Specifically, we want to initiate a conversation about whether or not they are cultural objects. The vast majority of archeologists assume that the behaviors involved in the production of handaxes were acquired by social learning and that handaxes are therefore cultural. We will argue that this assumption is not warranted on the basis of the available evidence and that an alternative hypothesis should be given serious consideration. This alternative hypothesis is that the form of Acheulean handaxes was at least partly under genetic control.