By discovery of three million year old tools?:
“A set of ancient stone tools may have been made by a species unrelated to modern humans, a new finding suggests.”
For years, researchers have believed that human ancestors in Ethiopia were the first beings to use crude stone tools, about 2.6 million years ago. But a recently-published study introduces new findings that suggest tool-making occurred over 300,000 years prior, in a completely different location, and by a species that isn’t even an ancestor to modern humans.
So-called Oldowan tool-making is often portrayed as something of a landmark in history, allowing for efficient processing of food. The advent of these advanced (at the time) tools is widely seen as a milestone in the development of culture, and has remained a touchstone in scientists’ investigations into the timeline of the emergence of human intelligence…
Most incredibly, the paper also chronicles the team’s discovery of Paranthropus molars. The Paranthropus genus is not an ancestor to modern Homo sapiens, but rather a kind of evolutionary cousin. The molars are the oldest fossilized Paranthropus remains ever found. – Hannah Docter-Loeb (March 9, 2023)
So it’s sort of like your great-uncle and aunt made the tools, not your great-grandparents. And that’s supposed to make all the difference?
Meanwhile, another promising subhuman candidate to scratch off the list.
The paper requires a fee or subscription. Here’s the Abstract:
The oldest Oldowan tool sites, from around 2.6 million years ago, have previously been confined to Ethiopia’s Afar Triangle. We describe sites at Nyayanga, Kenya, dated to 3.032 to 2.581 million years ago and expand this distribution by over 1300 kilometers. Furthermore, we found two hippopotamid butchery sites associated with mosaic vegetation and a C4 grazer–dominated fauna. Tool flaking proficiency was comparable with that of younger Oldowan assemblages, but pounding activities were more common. Tool use-wear and bone damage indicate plant and animal tissue processing. Paranthropus sp. teeth, the first from southwestern Kenya, possessed carbon isotopic values indicative of a diet rich in C4 foods. We argue that the earliest Oldowan was more widespread than previously known, used to process diverse foods including megafauna, and associated with Paranthropus from its onset.
5 Replies to “At VICE: Our view of intelligent [human] life upended by tools find?”
All “transitional fossils” seem to be “cousins” rather than ancestors. Could it be because the threshold for “cousins” is so much lower?
Not that anything needs rigorous proof in the magical land of “evolution”…
No, it’s because we have pretty good evidence that Paranthropus was not ancestral to Homo.
What’s interesting to me is the suggestion that Paranthropus processed megafauna. The “textbook” account is that this species was processing tubers and nuts with its massive molars, not meat.
Maybe Oldowans were quasi-cannibals and the Paranthropus teeth were simply the remnants of a meal.
In another vein, I wonder what hippo tastes like, really tough and gamy I’m guessing…….
Funny you should ask …
May take more than a handheld stone tool to deal with one, though.
A regular cholesterol fest. I bet they find abnormally high death rates in Paranthropus from heart attacks…..:-)
It just goes to show that you can find the answer to literally anything on the web…..