A team of archaeologists has unearthed the oldest stone tools ever discovered. According to their reports, the tools are approximately 3.3 million years old and were crafted long before the modern humans started to evolve.
The researchers believe the primitive tools were crafted by one of the earliest modern human ancestor, a hominid that belongs to the genus Australopithecus.
The archaeologists presented their recent discoveries at the annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society held in San Francisco.
Sonia Harmand, an archaeologist at the Stony Brook University in New York and one of the lead authors of the study, explained that the tools look as if they were created by knapping, which is a method that involves flaking the rocks, resulting in smaller, sharper pieces.
Until these recent findings, the oldest stone tools ever discovered were approximately 2.6 million years old, and were crafted around the time the first Homo specimens appeared.
The newly discovered stone tools consist of 20 flakes, anvils and cores that are surprisingly very well-preserved, according to the archaeologists that found them.
The prehistoric tools were unearthed three miles west of Lake Turkana in Kenya, and experts believe the tools prove that tool-crafting began way before the early human ancestors started to make them.
John Hawks, an anthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, said that these tools were crafted and used by many lineages of hominins.
Hawks said that he isn’t very surprised by the new findings and their significance, mainly because the chimpanzees are known to make and use rather complex tools to hunt and eat.
According to Hawks, what the early hominins did was to add the deliberate flaking of the stones, thus making the tools recognizable in the archaeological world. Hawks added that humans have elaborated on a technical ability that most of the ape species have.
In 2010, a team of researchers discovered animal bones that showed incisions and dents made by stone blades. These were discovered in Dikika, Ethiopia and upon evaluation, the experts concluded that the bones, as well as the incisions, were more than 3 million years old.
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