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stone tools

What science media make of the 3 million year old tool assembly, recently found

Some of us suspect that it is long past time someone shone a light on how these classifications of early humans are really created. How much is evidence and how much is underlying assumption? Read More ›

Researchers: Early stone tool culture of Neanderthals and other humans lasted much longer than thought

Overlap between the two cultures for many thousands of years would make a lot of sense because the newer technologies may not have been self-evidently better. Many considerations of time, energy, and risk would need to be factored in. Read More ›

Homo erectus from nearly 1.5 million years ago was “more behaviourally flexible” than thought

But why did we think they wouldn’t be? Isn’t there an underlying story here that is slowly being confuted (but no one wants to really discuss the history in those terms so everything must be treated as a big surprise)? Read More ›

Human origins upended once again

We humans must have originated in some kind of a cement mixer, to judge from recent reports. Making stone tools (Oldowan technology) is believed to have started in East Africa 2.6 million years ago and spread from there. But archaeologists recently found stone tools and butchered animals on a high plateau in Algeria: The newly discovered limestone and flint tools are about 2.4 million years old — almost the same age as the oldest known such tools, which were found in Gona, Ethiopia, and are 2.6 million years old. The discovery means that hominins were present in the Mediterranean fringe of North Africa around 600,000 years earlier than previously thought. Aisling Irwin, “Algeria fossils cast doubt on East Africa as sole Read More ›

Complex stone tools from 160,000 to 170,000 years ago found in China

The Levallois method of making stone tools was used in India 172,000 years ago: Rather than chipping flakes off a stone to create a tool, Levallois techniques work on the stone so it is the flakes themselves that become the tools. This enables several tools to be made from a single stone. Until recently, it seemed that the Levallois revolution didn’t spread east to places like China until much later – about 40,000 years ago – but that idea is now being questioned. Bo Li at the University of Wollongong, Australia, and his colleagues have just confirmed that Levallois-style stone tools recovered from Guanyindong cave in south China are between 160,000 and 170,000 years old. Colin Barras, “Complex stone tools in Read More ›

Stone tools found in Saudi Arabia from 300,000 years ago

At the time, Saudi Arabia was a grassy plain with many lakes: Archaeologist Patrick Roberts of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and his colleagues recently discovered a handful of stone tools in a sandy layer of soil beneath the dry traces of a shallow Pleistocene lake at Ti’s al Ghadah, in the Nefud Desert of northern Saudi Arabia. The soil layer dated to between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago, and it also contained fossilized remains of grazing animals, water birds, and predators like hyena and jaguar. Many of the bones seem to bear the marks of butchering by tool-wielding hominins. Kiona N. Smith, “Archaeologists find 300, 000-year-old stone tools in Saudi Arabia” at Ars Technica On Read More ›