Our ancestors died out because they were ‘lazy’, science claims

Our ancestors died out because they were 'lazy', science claims


If you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning, we don’t blame you.

But early humans may well have gone extinct because they just couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort.

An archaeological dig in the Arabian Peninsula led to a study into the way Homo erectus – a species of primitive humans – made tools and collected resources.

Turns out, they used the ‘least-effort strategies’ to survive which got them into trouble when the environment changed around them.

Dr. Ceri Shipton from the Australian National University School (ANU) of Culture, History and Language, said: ‘They really don’t seem to have been pushing themselves.’

Homo erectus died out because it was too lazy to adapt, study argues (Image: ANU)

‘I don’t get the sense they were explorers looking over the horizon. They didn’t have that same sense of wonder that we have,’ said Dr. Shipton, a lead researcher on the study into our ancestors which has been published in a paper for the PLoS One scientific journal.

‘To make their stone tools they would use whatever rocks they could find lying around their camp, which were mostly of comparatively low quality to what later stone tool makers used,’ he said.

‘At the site we looked at there was a big rocky outcrop of quality stone just a short distance away up a small hill. But rather than walk up the hill they would just use whatever bits had rolled down and were lying at the bottom.

Our ancestors didn’t put much effort into making tools (Image: ANU)

‘When we looked at the rocky outcrop there were no signs of any activity, no artefacts and no quarrying of the stone. They knew it was there, but because they had enough adequate resources they seem to have thought, “why bother?”‘

This attitude seemed to die out with the species. Early Homo sapiens would climb mountains to find good quality stone and then transport it over great distances.

Not dealing with the changing world around them eventually led our layabout ancestors to die out as the lush environment dried up around them, reckon the scientists.

Homo erectus was a species of early humans (Image: Wikipedia)

‘The sediment samples showed the environment around them was changing, but they were doing the exact same things with their tools,’ said Dr. Shipton.

‘There was no progression at all, and their tools are never very far from these now dry river beds. I think in the end the environment just got too dry for them.’

The excavation and survey work was undertaken in 2014 at the site of Saffaqah near Dawadmi in central Saudi Arabia.

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