What distinguishes us from other apes?
It is often claimed that there are ten inventions that have made us distinctively human. People have different versions of the ten, so what do you think of this one?
cooking (one million years ago)
self-adornment (jewellery and cosmetics)
sewing (crucial for clothes in cold climates; 170,000 years ago at least)
containers (animal skins long before pottery)
law and order (agreed socio-economic rules and punishments)
timekeeping (natural events like night and day, and solstices as well as man-made time telling devices)
farming (ploughing and animal domestication)
religion (shared beliefs and ceremonial practices)
factual recording (oral story telling, graphical symbols for at least 100,000 years, writing 5,000 years)
trading (production and exchange).
What's interesting is that Stone Age Mesolithics score an impressive 9/10, lacking only farming, and the Neolithics score 10/10.
Today, we are more 'advanced', but perhaps we aren't essentially any different.
Top row, left to right: stone tools and weapons; wallaby skin water container; North American ancestor worship; ard plough found at Stonehenge; prehistoric sewing needles. Bottom row, left to right: Skara Brae jewellery; Sardinian stone scales; North American story telling; fire; Mesolithic Scottish time telling pits. See copyright.