Time stamp engraved stone
at the hardware store in South Africa, you can buy as a red stone, you might guess the usefulness of these red stones. Used as a souvenir? Used to make pigments? No, its real use is probably a big surprise. It turns out that the locals used these stones as “sunscreen.” Roll the stone into a powder, add some water, and apply it to the body. The “sunscreen” will be applied.
In the Hamar tribe in Ethiopia, this red stone has another use – “shampoo”. The Hamars apply red stone powder to the hair, add water, rub, rinse, and the hair is washed. Clean and bacteriostatic.
This red stone is called “meteorite”. Vermiculite is an iron-bearing ore that can be used as a pigment. In archaeology, meteorites include hematite (red ochre), goethite (xanite) and mirror iron ore. The calcite is heated to about 250 °C, which can be converted into red ochre. At present, most of the meteorites discovered by archaeologists are red ochre, but it is also possible that some of them are transformed by scutellite.
The application of meteorites in life is not the invention of modern people. As early as hundreds of thousands of years ago, meteorites were already part of human life. From South Africa, Australia to Germany, Peru, many ancient human sites have traces of meteorites. For example, archaeologists have discovered more than 4,000 pieces of meteorites in an ancient human cave in Ethiopia. Some seem to be sharpening stones, some wear holes, some are ground into pebbles, and are probably used as decorations. And so on. In addition, hundreds of thousands of years ago, meteorites were used not only as sunscreens and shampoos, but also as insecticides, leather preservatives, bow and arrow binders, etc. So why did early humans so favor the meteorite?
Ancient human love red
Archaeologists have found that the application of meteorites dates back to 300,000 years ago, almost as long as the Homo sapiens appeared. In addition to Homo sapiens, Neanderthals began to use chert consciously 250,000 years ago. Meteorite seems to have a special appeal to human beings, and scientists attribute this attraction to the unique vision of the primate: trichromatic vision. The primate cones determine their ability to perceive and process the three colors of red, green and blue. Scientists have found that red on a green background is more likely to attract primate attention. This ability allows them to discover the ripe fruits in the distance, while the mature fruits are softer, more digestible and absorbable, which is undoubtedly beneficial to their survival.
The ancient humans favored the meteorite seems to have an explanation. Imagine a wise man walking and suddenly being attracted by the red in the distance. When I look closer, it turns out to be a red stone. He picks it up, puts it down, takes the stone home, looks left, right. Look, it’s a whimsy, it’s better to grind the stone into a powder and apply it on the body. The effect seems to be good. Therefore, this behavior has been retained. Therefore, things developed like this: the attraction of red to ancient humans prompted them to discover meteorites. They gradually discovered the various uses of meteorites, and meteorites gradually infiltrated into their lives.
Red stones and expansion of
some archaeologists believe that human beings can come out of Africa, set foot on other continents, a credit ocher.
Imagine how hot the sun is, how can I travel long distances? However, it is not the same to apply sunscreen sunscreen. After applying sunscreen, you can go longer and farther without being afraid of being sunburned by the sun. This is not just an imaginary. Some archaeologists have found that the time when ancient humans used meteorites as sunscreens was almost the same as the time they used them to fill water with ostrich egg shells. At the same time, various food supplies and clothing replenishment conditions were also completed. With the food and drink worn, there is sun protection, and the time to go out of Africa will be greatly shortened.
Meteorite also promotes communication between humans. One technique, called elemental fingerprinting, was discovered by a chemist named Robert William Bunsen. He discovered that various metals and their salts present a unique color in the flame, which is the flame reaction of the metal. Later, he discovered that the flame light of metal and its salts was divided into several lines of different colors after passing through the prism. The color lines of each element have a fixed position and quantity, just like human fingerprints. So he called this feature “element fingerprint.” By analyzing the elemental fingerprints, the source of the material can be traced, and archaeologists begin to build a database of elemental fingerprints for discovering the true origin of the items in the archaeological site.
Through elemental fingerprint analysis, archaeologists have discovered that some meteorites are not produced locally, but are shipped from other regions. Archaeologists believe that at that time, the territory of a tribe should be only a region of 19 to 40 kilometers. If you want to obtain a meteorite outside the territory, it will inevitably exchange or trade with other tribes, which will promote the formation of human social networks. At the same time, it is also conducive to the expansion of the human race. The distribution of meteorites records the traces of human activities.
In addition, some scientists believe that meteorites also have a lot of credit in the evolution of human brain.
Is it smart to eat “earth”?
Carlos, a marine biologist in Saudi Arabia, studied the effects of food on the evolution of the brain for many years. When the early humans consumed shellfish, the shells were always coated with vermiculite powder, which has the same phenomenon in many ancient human sites around the world. This must not be accidental. After in-depth research, he believes that the same food seafood and vermiculite powder can promote people to absorb DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, commonly known as brain gold), iron, iodine and other elements that are conducive to brain development. Therefore, Carlos concluded that such a diet stimulates the development of the ancient human brain, so they are smarter, produce clever offspring, and the human brain evolves. He stressed that it is necessary to consume seafood and vermiculite at the same time, otherwise the nutrients in the meteorite will not be absorbed.
However, this conclusion seems to be somewhat untenable. First of all, there are a large number of ancient humans who have never lived close to the sea for the rest of their lives, let alone live on seafood. Although this diet may promote brain development, it should not attribute human brain evolution to this. Secondly, this deliberate behavior of eating earth is called “food glutinous rice”. In many records, the ancients believed that eating soil can treat diarrhea and ingesting iron. Others believe that pregnant women can produce healthier and smarter offspring. .
Scientists have not yet concluded whether eating soil is good for the body. Now, scientists already know that eating soil can protect the digestive tract from harmful substances. In addition, eating soil may also be a source of beneficial microbes, however, it is also likely to cause bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections. Other studies have found that people with sputum sputum are more than twice as likely to suffer from anemia as those without sputum. Therefore, don’t try it easily, with seafood, the soil will not taste good, maybe there are side effects, and ochre powder is no exception.
However, Carlos’s research opened a new door to meteorite research, giving archaeologists new inspiration. The meteorite, the red stone that records human history, may still contain many secrets waiting for us to discover.
Time stamp engraved stone