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In a discovery that could rewrite the early human history, archaeologists have found the world's oldest handmade stone tools in Kenya, dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans.
The tools, whose makers may or may not have been some sort of human ancestor, push the known date of such tools back by 700,000 years.
They also may challenge the notion that our own most direct ancestors were the first to bang two rocks together to create a new technology, researchers said.
The discovery is the first evidence that an even earlier group of proto-humans may have had the thinking abilities needed to figure out how to make sharp-edged tools.
The stone tools mark "a new beginning to the known archaeological record," say the authors of a new paper about the discovery, published in the journal Nature.
"The whole site's surprising, it just rewrites the book on a lot of things that we thought were true," said geologist Chris Lepre of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University, a co-author of the paper who precisely dated the artifacts.
The tools "shed light on an unexpected and previously unknown period of hominin behaviour and can tell us a lot about cognitive development in our ancestors that we can't understand from fossils alone," said lead author Sonia Harmand, of the Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook University.
Hominins are a group of species that includes modern humans, Homo sapiens, and our closest evolutionary ancestors.
Anthropologists long thought that our relatives in the genus Homo - the line leading directly to Homo sapiens - were the first to craft such stone tools.
But researchers have been uncovering tantalising clues that some other, earlier species of hominin, distant cousins, might have figured it out.
The researchers do not know who made these oldest of tools. But earlier finds suggest a possible answer: The skull of a 3.3-million-year-old hominin, Kenyanthropus platytops, was found in 1999 about a kilometre from the tool site
"The whole site's surprising, it just rewrites the book on a lot of things that we thought were true,"
Lepre said a layer of volcanic ash below the tool site set a "floor" on the site's age: It matched ash elsewhere that had been dated to about 3.3 million years ago, based on the ratio of argon isotopes in the material. To more sharply define the time period of the tools, Lepre and co-author and Lamont-Doherty colleague Dennis Kent examined magnetic minerals beneath, around and above the spots where the tools were found.
The Earth's magnetic field periodically reverses itself, and the chronology of those changes is well documented going back millions of years. "We essentially have a magnetic tape recorder that records the magnetic field ... the music of the outer core," Kent said. By tracing the variations in the polarity of the samples, they dated the site to 3.33 million to 3.11 million years.
originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: SuperFrog
But what if it was created by another intelligent species that existed before humans came.
A civilization (US) or civilisation (UK) is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication forms (typically, writing systems), and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment. Civilizations are intimately associated with and often further defined by other socio-politico-economic characteristics, including centralization, the domestication of both humans and other organisms, specialization of labor, culturally ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacism, monumental architecture, taxation, societal dependence upon agriculture, and expansionism. Historically, a civilization was an "advanced" culture in contrast to more supposedly barbarian, savage, or primitive cultures. In this broad sense, a civilization contrasts with non-centralized feudal or tribal societies, including the cultures of nomadic pastoralists or hunter-gatherers. As an uncountable noun, civilization also refers to the process of a society developing into a centralized, urbanized, stratified structure.
originally posted by: gort51
I guess this thread will amalgamate with the other, but I do ponder.
Thanks gethyped for the links.
SO they are all specially "Knapped" tools are they? All created by an intelligence, so it must be a Homo Man thing then obviously......so the experts all decree.
originally posted by: borntowatch
Monkeys dont and cant and will never chip, flake tools till next time.