The first known multipurpose tools were crafted 170,000 years ago by Neanderthals, who exploited fire during the manufacturing process. More.
From Kimberly Hickok at Science:
Neandertals evolved in Europe perhaps as early as 400,000 years ago, but it’s unclear when they began to regularly use fire. Until now, the earliest evidence of Neandertals controlling fire dates to the late Middle Pleistocene, about 130,000 years ago. …
Back in Grosseto, archaeologist Biancamaria Aranguren and her team from the Italian ministry of culture’s division of archaeology, fine arts, and landscape in Florence, got to work. Finding the wooden tools was a shock. “I thought, ‘It is impossible, what is this?’” Aranguren says. But the fact that the 58 sticks—made mostly of hard boxwood, but also of oak, ash, and juniper—were nearly identical convinced her that they were probably tools.
If the find is indeed linked to Neandertals, Fisher says that it could be one more nail in the coffin of their image as unsophisticated, technologically backward hominids. More.
It wouldn’t hurt to ask why we thought that about Neanderthals anyway.
See also: Revolutionary stone tools found in India “much earlier than thought,” 385 kya
Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents
A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?