Since the records for prehistoric human existence are found underground, the most fundamental archaeological procedure is excavation--the essence of the archaeological dig. Local residents, farmers, or workers who happen upon prehistoric tools will often alert archaeologists to an area of promise for systematic investigation.Overlying soil is removed, with care being taken to note its natural layers and the exact position of each object and artifact discovered in the process.Humans also lack the fur coat that all other primates possess, and, relative to body size, human brains are nearly three times as large as those of the apes.Finally, all human groups are completely dependent on the use of language, without which they could not survive, and there is nothing comparable among their nearest nonhuman kin.That body of verbally transmitted learning and traditions is referred to as culture.Humans live in a culturally conditioned world to such an extent that it can be referred to as a cultural ecological niche.
After their makers had discarded them, they continued to exist as witnesses to the activities of the early hominids--a term used for creatures that are more than just apes and which includes everything from prehuman bipeds up to contemporary human beings.
The soft tissues of the body do not generally survive the process of decomposition.
Although the archaeological and anatomical record does provide us with some indirect clues by which the answers to such questions can be suggested, those answers are only tentative.
In general, those who have trouble learning the rudiments of language will have less chance for survival.
The cultural ecological niche puts a premium on those portions of the brain associated with linguistic capability.
Obviously, females are of equal importance to the survival of the human species, and, somewhat belatedly, the field of biological anthropology has come to realize that males and females require equal attention if the phenomenon of humankind and how it emerged from its nonhuman predecessors is ever to be understood.