Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Advanced Tool Use

  • Nicholas PrimaveraEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_318-1



The ability to develop and utilize objects, such as long blades and primitive sickles in order to better hunt, process prey, and survive.


It is believed that the first Homo sapiens tools were originally developed approximately 250,000 years ago. Tools developed within this timeframe lacked the characteristics that would classify them as advanced. Advanced tools, and their use, is believed to have begun roughly 100,000 years ago. Examples of these tools include spears with spearheads, longer blades, and sickles. These are considered to be improvements and demonstrate a higher process of thought among Homo sapiens.

The Importance of Advanced Tool Use and Its Practicality

Advanced tool use is a very important milestone in evolution. The departure from primitive tools, i.e., clubs, primitive spears, is an important distinction with regard to Homo sapiens. Prior to the development of advanced tools, tools were quite simple. These included simple oval stones fashioned into “hand axes,” among other primitive tools. When comparing these two different kinds of tools, this shows an increased cognitive ability, as well as demonstrates an increased physiological ability to use them. The utilization of advanced tools came with many benefits. For example, processing hunted prey, which can involve removing edible food, furs, bones, or anything else that could serve a use, and the cleaning process for food itself became easier. Another benefit of advanced tools is the ability to hunt game of all sizes. Prior to this development, only small- and medium-sized game was effectively hunted for food. Obviously, this change had a huge impact on the diet of the Homo sapiens. For example, “Toolmaking would have facilitated access to a wider range of foods and the ability to process those foods more intensively or efficiently, likely making them more palatable and yielding more calories” (Pobiner 2016). With the increased ability provided via the advanced tools, the means to hunt larger game and even aquatic game arose. It is important to note that not all advanced tools were used solely for hunting purposes. Tools that had sharp, flat edges would most likely be not as useful as a sharp, pointed edge for hunting, but perhaps useful in helping to remove hide from hunted animals, which would provide a benefit of its own.


In conclusion, the development of advanced tools ultimately allowed Homo sapiens to better adapt to their environment. The ability to not only gather more food but also a greater variety of food provided a significant advantage to the Homo sapiens. Furthermore, the ability to better process hides and other materials certainly helped to improve the quality of life for Homo sapiens as well.



  1. Pobiner, B. (2016, March 21). The first butchers. Retrieved 13 Jan 2017, from http://www.sapiens.org/evolution/homo-sapiens-and-tool-making/

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SUNY New PaltzMiltonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Haley Dillon
    • 1
  1. 1.Dominican CollegeOrangeburgUSA