With Halloween only weeks away, I have to share one of the most terrifying images of my childhood. When I was a little kid (I’m now in my 30s) I was already really interested in evolution, but in all the books on the subject I had leafed through, nothing scared me or captured my imagination as much as this image.
I wish I could credit the artist, but it’s from a 1979 TIME-LIFE book called Early Man by F. Clark Howell and the editors of TIME-LIFE books.
It terrified me because it depicts the more evolved australopithecines killing off the primitive Australopithecus robustus but it captured my imagination because it shows Africa in all its glory. There was such beauty in living in Africa millions of years ago, at the dawn of humanity while the setting sun subtly colors the rocks on the hills. The open fields and endless landscape, on a lonely planet with only a few scattered Stone Age tribes on just a single continent.
In the picture, the more advanced tribe adapts the situation to their advantage by using lighter but sharper rocks, while the monkey tribe gets much less bang for their buck by draining their energy with heavy blunter weapons.
Intelligent behavior = low cost/benefit behavior.