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By Charles Singer et al (eds)

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When the female is due to lay eggs she excavates an oblique tunnel in the soil, then seeks and paralyses a caterpillar, places it in the burrow, lays an egg on it, and temporarily closes the nest with stones. As soon as another caterpillar is found, the nest is reopened and the process repeated. When the nest is fully stocked, she removes every sign that the earth has been disturbed. The manner of this camouflage varies somewhat with the individual. One wasp, after filling the neck o f the burrow with earth, was seen to bring a quantity o f sand-grains to the spot and, seizing a pebble in its mandibles, use it as a hammer in pounding them down, to make the spot as hard and firm as the sur­ rounding surface (figure i).

O R IG IN S 19 OF T O O L -M A K IN G We may now return to the origins o f regular tool-making. Perhaps within the Pliocene, certainly by the dawn of the Pleistocene, that is about a million years ago, the typically human level o f cerebral development had been reached. Stone artifacts o f standardized types have been found in Lower Pleistocene deposits in various parts o f Africa, and in deposits only slightly more recent in Asia and western Europe. They show that tool-making was no longer merely occasional, but served permanent needs of these earliest men.

Not only do these colonies construct island lodges in ponds of their own making, and control the level of the water in them, but they make canals along which they convey the felled timber, stock-piling it for the food which the bark provides. These feats of engineering must involve individual learning by trial and error. It has been reported that young beavers which do not readily work for the common good are driven out of the colony and, instead of making proper lodges, revert to living in simple burrows.

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