The Upper Paleolithic can be considered a turning point in the evolution of human beings. During the Upper Paleolithic various cultural innovations changed the way people would like their lives from that point forward. Perhaps the most important of these innovations being stone tools and blades, the domestication of dogs, art, and evolution of self-identity. The manufacturing of stone tools and blades was very apparent during the Upper Paleolithic The emergence of the flaking technique allowed the people of this time to “make thin, beautiful, leaf shaped points in several sizes.
Some of these points were used for spear, and some perhaps for arrows, while others may have served as knives”(Price, p. 119). One of the most prominent examples of these stones and blades can be found in a ruin near the town of Dolan Victories. This site was home to a group of people who were believed to be mammoth hunters. Many tools made from bone and ivory were found here along with blades and spears which made the hunting of these massive creatures possible. The evolution of stone tools and blades allowed for a much more efficient style of hunting.
It is easy to see how tools like these have changed society forever. To this ay many hunters do still use bows and arrows, however in today’s society this is done for sport rather than survival. Fine blades used for cutting are also very prominent in today’s society. Kitchen knives are a tool that is used by many on almost a daily basis. Another major innovation that assisted humans in the Upper Paleolithic was the domestication of dogs. “Sermon© believes dog domestication might have begun when the prehistoric hunters killed a female wolf and brought home her pups” (Vegas, 2008).
The first evidence of domesticated dogs was excavated from Gayety Cave in Belgium. These early domesticated dogs were probably seed for tracking, hunting, and transportation of goods. As time passed, the companionship between dogs and humans has only grown stronger. Now, dogs are a common household pet and are often referred to as “man’s best friend”. Dogs are often still used as hunters today, however many other roles have emerged. Dogs assist the law enforcement using their superior power of smell to find drugs, help lead the blind, and are also used for emotional support.
It is difficult to imagine how society might be today if people during the Upper Paleolithic had not domesticated dogs. Art was also a major development of the Upper Paleolithic era that has intoned to affect society throughout time. There are two different types of art from this period called mural and portable. Paintings and carvings in cave walls are considered mural art, and were extremely important to the people of the Upper Paleolithic era. These were some of the first examples of humans recording knowledge into a less perishable form.
This allowed people to pass information along even after they have died, which helped the cultures of the time develop knowledge and skills more thoroughly. Cultures in the Upper Paleolithic era also created masks, statues, and other small figures which could be carried, called ratable art. This type of art was more common in larger settlements, indicating that it was often used for ceremonies and other large gatherings. The Menus Figurines,” found throughout a large portion of Europe, were statues that had exaggerated female characteristics.
These statutes often depicted women who were pregnant, holding cornucopias, or with outlined pubic areas, which shows the importance of fertility and ceremony to early humans. The Venus of Victories, uncovered in the Dolan Victories site, was found in a common area near a large fire pit, further demonstrating the link between ceremony and art. This relationship has continued o develop into the modern era, and is exemplified by the use of birthday cakes, crosses used in church, and many more decorations involved in large congregations.
People use signs to inform and advertise, costumes to celebrate, and statues to commemorate. The prominence of art and symbolism in today’s society shows the incredible importance of the development of art in the Upper Paleolithic era. The evolution of self-identity is another very prominent innovation present during the Upper Paleolithic era. Remains in Europe have shown that various body decorations such as beads or pendants made were made from shells, bone, and other small teems. “These are considered to communicate the self-awareness and identity of the individual as well as the social group.
No similar objects, and therefore no clear signs for the identity of social units, were recorded in middle Paleolithic contexts”(Bar- Yokes, p. 367). These people wanted to be recognized as part of a group, but also placed importance on individuality. In today’s society people wear different types of jewelry and clothes, dye their hair, and get tattoos in order to express their independent identity. In addition, most personal items people use on a daily basis are available for customization and personalization.
The massive amount of self- expression available in modern society demonstrates the significance of the development of individuality in the Upper Paleolithic era. The emergence of stone tools and blades, domestication of canines, evolution of art, and evolution of self- identity are all important cultural innovations that occurred during the The Upper Paleolithic that ultimately changed the course of human beings forever. Today we use tools like scissors and knives, keep dogs as pets, use symbols and art frequently, and are constantly striving to be individualistic. These innovations from the Upper
Paleolithic era have made a lasting impression that has shaped and formed the society and culture of modern times.