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Tool-making from 300 thousand years ago – but by whom no one knows

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From Ross Pomeroy at RealClearScience:

Sixteen years ago, road workers detonated a controlled explosive to remove a large limestone boulder blocking a planned roadway outside of Tel Aviv in Israel. Soon after the dust settled, it became clear that the road would need to be rerouted.

The workers had stumbled upon a vast cave, one that had been sealed off for more than 200,000 years! For the researchers who soon began exploring the cave’s expansive interior, it was the find of a lifetime.

Now called Qesem Cave, the site has delivered a number of discoveries that live up to its explosive origin. Archaeologists found a 300,000-year-old fireplace, along with tortoise shells that showed signs of burning. Apparently, whoever live there had a taste for roast tortoise.

Exactly who lived there remains a mystery, however. More.

Study: Zupancich, A. et al. Early evidence of stone tool use in bone working activities at Qesem Cave, Israel. Sci. Rep. 6, 37686; doi: 10.1038/srep37686 (2016)

See also: The search for our earliest ancestors: signals in the noise

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5 Replies to “Tool-making from 300 thousand years ago – but by whom no one knows

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    Gee, I’ve been waiting for a topic along these lines.

    Neanderthals dominated Eurasia for 250,000 years before disappearing shortly after “humans” arrived in Europe. But all of the indications are that Neanderthals were VERY similar to modern humans. And in fact ALL humans, excepting those of pure African ancestry, share Neanderthal lineage.

    So, from where, exactly, did Neanderthals come? There is no indication that they originated in Africa and migrated north. And now it appears that fully modern Neanderthals were in the Mid-East 400,000 years ago. And these “primitive hominids” were using fire. These would seem to argue that humans are easily a million years old.

    This would again appear to be a case of a distinctly new form of humans appearing POOF! without ANY preceding intermediate transitions from the curly-haired, slim-limbed Africans to the chunky linebacker Europeans. And the chunky linebackers guys are also the source (POOF!) of eyes colored other than brown.

    Where are the crashed UFOs when we need them?

  2. 2
    awstar says:

    Now called Qesem Cave, the site has delivered a number of discoveries that live up to its explosive origin. Archaeologists found a 300,000-year-old fireplace, along with tortoise shells that showed signs of burning. Apparently, whoever live there had a taste for roast tortoise.

    I don’t suppose anyone thought of Cardon dating the shells and charcoal did they?

    Like how they did in other prehistoric caves like Chauvet Cave?

  3. 3

    Awstar,
    Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5500 years. It starts out in the atmosphere made by cosmic rays at parts per billion of C-12, mostly as CO2, gets incorporated into plants and seashells which die, and the C-14 starts to decay. After 10 halflives, 2^10 =1024, it is now parts per trillion. That is so little C-14, that just breathing on a shell will give it more C-14 than the entire shell has in it. So 10×5500 = 55,000 years is sort of the limit for C-14 dating. If this cave is 200,000 years old, then C-14 dating is hopeless. ‘Cause it isn’t just breathing on it, it is rainwater carrying dissolved CO2 trickling through and even neutrons from natural uranium and radon making C-14 inside the sample. I wouldn’t trust any C-14 date older than about 30,000 years, though some labs claim ability to date up to 65,000 years.

  4. 4
    jimmontg says:

    They have difficulty dating between where C14 falls off at about 50,000 and where other methods like argon-potassium or proton streaks in volcanic ash come in around 1,000,000 years. I know we are told it’s 300,000 years old, but I would like to know how they came up with that date and how much it can be off. I’m not a YEC either, but have been looking into this dating weakness unless they have yearly sediments where these things are found it’s hard to tell and even the sediment may be off because of bad weather years and such.

  5. 5
    redwave says:

    The thermoluminescence (TL) dating method is one and uranium isotopic series:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....01718.html

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