1.6 million years BCE: Earl E Mann

Earl E. Mann, leader of a Homo habilis troop, left the group of hunters. He grunted at them, throwing both arms in the air as he did. It was a signal to leave him alone. He was born with twenty-three sounds and thirty-eight body movements and postures imprinted in his brain to communicate with others of his troop. Using them, he could deliver over 250 messages. This ability to communicate came from the great font of knowledge and skill his progenitors had developed as part of their instinctive survival system on the dry East African savannahs. While the bulk of his knowledge came from this instinct and was stored in the ever-growing portion of the brain located in the back of his skull, the ability to learn and teach was beginning to develop in his brain’s frontal lobes.

Earl was agitated because the hunters had found no food all morning. After wandering alone for a little over an hour, he saw buzzards circling on the horizon. His people were capable of killing small animals, but usually he and his hunters would scavenge from the kills of large predators.

Earl chased the buzzards away, but he knew he would not be able to chase the hyenas or large cats when they came. Quickly, he ate as much as he could, tearing the flesh with his teeth and swallowing it in large gulps. When he was filled, he picked up two stones and hit them together just at the right angle to create a sharp edge on one of them. He used the sharp edge to chop off two large pieces of meat. As he was leaving with his meat, the hyenas arrived. He shouted and threw a well-aimed stone at them before running away with his prize.

When he got back to the troop, he found the other hunters had returned empty handed. The females gathered tubers and insect larva near their camp, which were added to the meat Earl brought. Their camps were temporary stopping places as they wandered the savanna searching for food.

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