Scientists have discovered the oldest recorded stone tool ever to be found in Turkey, revealing that humans passed through the gateway from Asia to Europe much earlier than previously thought, approximately 1.2 million years ago.
Professor Danielle Schreve, from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, said: “This discovery is critical for establishing the timing and route of early human dispersal into Europe. Our research suggests that the flake is the earliest securely-dated artefact from Turkey ever recorded and was dropped on the floodplain by an early hominin well over a million years ago.”
A real, non-Darwinian history of the human race would doubtless be quite interesting, to say nothing of more accurate. Here’s the abstract:
Anatolia lies at the gateway from Asia into Europe and has frequently been favoured as a route for Early Pleistocene hominin dispersal. Although early hominins are known to have occupied Turkey, with numerous finds of Lower Palaeolithic artefacts documented, the chronology of their dispersal has little reliable stratigraphical or geochronological constraint, sites are rare, and the region’s hominin history remains poorly understood as a result. Here, we present a Palaeolithic artefact, a hard-hammer flake, from fluvial sediments associated with the Early Pleistocene Gediz River of Western Turkey. This previously documented buried river terrace sequence provides a clear stratigraphical context for the find and affords opportunities for independent age estimation using the numerous basaltic lava flows that emanated from nearby volcanic necks and aperiodically encroached onto the contemporary valley floors. New 40Ar/39Ar age estimates from these flows are reported here which, together with palaeomagnetic measurements, allow a tightly-constrained chronology for the artefact-bearing sediments to be established. These results suggest that hominin occupation of the valley occurred within a time period spanning ~1.24 Ma to ~1.17 Ma, making this the earliest, securely-dated, record of hominin occupation in Anatolia. – D. Maddy, D. Schreve, T. Demir, A. Veldkamp, J.R. Wijbrans, W. van Gorp, D.J.J. van Hinsbergen, M.J. Dekkers, R. Scaife, J.M. Schoorl, C. Stemerdink, T. van der Schriek. The earliest securely-dated hominin artefact in Anatolia? Quaternary Science Reviews, 2015; 109: 68 DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.11.021
See also: The search for our earliest ancestors: signals in the noise
Early human religion: A 747 built in the basement with an X-Acto knife
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