Early humans: Stone age bling?
According to the New York Tmes , June 23, 2006:
Archaeologists say they have found evidence that in one respect people were behaving like thoroughly modern humans as early as 100,000 years ago: they were apparently decorating themselves with a kind of status-defining jewelry — the earliest known shell necklaces.
The shells, found in Israel, present an interesting problem in design detection. Is it merely by chance that they all have holes, or is it that - as the archeologists argue - someone had made a necklace?
If so, the shell necklace suggests that the emergence of human consciousness enabled a number of developments rather quickly. The mere existence of consciousness may obviate a long, slow process of evolution of behavior, because the idea is immediately grasped, and the subsequent behavior is quickly carried out. Then widely imitated. Then knocked off in sweatshops. Then dumped in the Sally Ann bin. No wait. Those last two developments did have to wait for the development of shipping containers and the Booth family (= Sally Ann founders).