From stones to cell phones, technology requires the complex mental processes of which humans are uniquely capable.
  • This video clip, from the film Bones of Turkana, takes place in the area around ancient Lake Turkana, Kenya. This area is known as a cradle of human life. There is evidence that hominids lived here as far back as 4.2 million years ago.


    Dr. Hélène Roche is an archaeologist at the Turkana Basin Institute. She has worked at Lake Turkana for more than two decades, uncovering and piecing back together valuable tools used by ancient hominids. This video gives insight into the beginnings of technology created by hominids and the correlation between brain size and technology.

    1. How does the video define technology?

      Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for the making and usage of tools and machines, or a system or method that can be applied to solve a problem or perform a practical function. Technological solutions often make life easier and can have a significant impact on our ability to control and adapt to our natural environment.

    2. Why are the stone tools found by Dr. Hélène Roche’s team so significant?

      Answers may vary. The tools are primarily significant because they indicate that hominids were able to envision what they wanted to make before they started making it. In other words, the hominids were both focused and creative in crafting their tools.

    3. Predict what the stone tools in the video would have been used for.

      Answers may vary. The tools found by Hélène Roche's team were mainly used for hunting, creating other tools, carving, or possibly making fires.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    anthropology Noun

    science of the origin, development, and culture of human beings.

    Encyclopedic Entry: anthropology
    field work Noun

    scientific studies done outside of a lab, classroom, or office.

    Encyclopedic Entry: field work
    hominid Noun

    biological family of primates, including humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, and their ancestors.

    paleontology Noun

    the study of fossils and life from early geologic periods.

    Encyclopedic Entry: paleontology
    technology Noun

    the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.

    tool Noun

    instrument used to help in the performance of a task.