The primary objective of this doctoral dissertation improvement award is to clarify the physical and cultural capabilities of an ancestor of humans, Homo erectus. H. erectus is particularly important as it was this species which first moved out of Africa and colonized much of the Old World, implying improvement in the ability to deal with environmental challenges. This earlier hominid is represented at Olduvai Gorge in East Africa, a site which contains rich faunal assemblages from the appropriate period of about 1.7 to 1.2 million years ago. The investigators will undertake a two fold approach to clarifying the abilities of these hominids. First, the fauna from Bed II at Olduvai Gorge will be analyzed in order to determine the processes which led to their deposition. The types and frequencies of bones, their sizes, abrasion and modification can assist in determining the subsistence behavior of H. erectus. Secondly a series of ethnoarchaeological experiments will be carried out to clarify the behavioral interpretation of hominid bone processing. Butchery marks on bone resulting from observed practices among the Samburu of Kenya will be compared to the evidence left by our ancestors in orde r to better understand the ways in which the earlier forms processed their food.