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One would expect, then, that the evidence for the increasing complexity of the prehistoric cultural record would be linked to an increase in brain size of the associated prehistoric hominids. Researchers can assess brain size and the form of limbs and feet of prehistoric specimens to see what they can tell us about the course of human development.It is much less easy, however, to tell such things as whether or not the prehistoric creatures in question had lost their fur coatings yet or whether they had developed the capacity for articulate speech.This is the arena in which the survival of the human species is played out.The occupants of the cultural ecological niche impose a series of selective pressures on each other as they use language and other aspects of culture to their advantage.Actual hominid skeletal remains are quite rare, but once stone tools begin to appear in the archaeological record, the areas occupied by toolmakers can be traced through the time writing begins and prehistory proper comes to an end.The task of discovering the extent and form of prehistoric tools is the focus of archaeology.
Subsequently Diogenes the Cynic, in an equally flippant fashion, displayed a plucked chicken and declared, "Here is Plato's man." Plato's student, Aristotle, also was concerned with verbal definitions and distinctions, but he went on to describe the natural world in a matter-of-fact fashion that has earned him recognition as the founder of the biological sciences.In his work on biology, he avoided the effort to treat biological entities by the use of rigid formal logic, and, though he made some inevitable errors in fact, his pragmatic approach has served as a model for biological observation ever since.From long before the time of the ancient Greeks, human beings were generally recognized as members of the animal world.Stone tools, however, do not dissolve and disappear the way bones often do.After their makers had discarded them, they continued to exist as witnesses to the activities of the early hominids--a term used for creatures that are more than just apes and which includes everything from prehuman bipeds up to contemporary human beings.