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Author Topic:   Stone Tools Older Than Homo Genus ...
RAZD
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Message 1 of 4 (756222)
04-16-2015 5:20 PM


Science | AAAS
quote:
World’s oldest stone tools discovered in Kenya
Researchers at a meeting here say they have found the oldest tools made by human ancestorsstone flakes dated to 3.3 million years ago. That’s 700,000 years older than the oldest-known tools to date, suggesting that our ancestors were crafting tools several hundred thousand years before our genus Homo arrived on the scene. ...
Until now, the earliest known stone tools had been found at the site of Gona in Ethiopia and were dated to 2.6 million years ago. These belonged to a tool technology known as the Oldowan, so called because the first examples were found more than 80 years ago at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by famous paleoanthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey. Then, in 2010, researchers working at the site of Dikika in Ethiopiawhere an australopithecine child was also discoveredreported cut marks on animal bones dated to 3.4 million years ago; they argued that tool-using human ancestors made the linear marks. ...
Now, those missing tools may have been found. ... They took a wrong turn and stumbled upon another part of the area, called Lomekwi, near where Kenyanthropus had been found. The researchers spotted what Harmand called unmistakable stone tools on the surface of the sandy landscape and immediately launched a small excavation.
The artifacts were clearly knapped [created by intentional flaking] and not the result of accidental fracture of rocks, Harmand told the meeting. Analysis of the tools showed that they had been rotated as flakes were struck off, which is also how Oldowan tools were crafted. The Lomekwi tools were somewhat larger than the average Oldowan artifacts, however. Dating of the sediments using paleomagnetic techniqueswhich track reversals in Earth’s magnetic field over time and have been used on many hominin finds from the well-studied Lake Turkana areaput them at about 3.3 million years old.
Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia | Nature
quote:
Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia
(abstract)
The oldest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture comes from Gona (Ethiopia) and dates to between 2.6 and 2.5 million years (Myr) ago1. At the nearby Bouri site several cut-marked bones also show stone tool use approximately 2.5 Myr ago2. Here we report stone-tool-inflicted marks on bones found during recent survey work in Dikika, Ethiopia, a research area close to Gona and Bouri. On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access. The bones derive from the Sidi Hakoma Member of the Hadar Formation. Established 40Ar—39Ar dates on the tuffs that bracket this member constrain the finds to between 3.42 and 3.24 Myr ago, and stratigraphic scaling between these units and other geological evidence indicate that they are older than 3.39 Myr ago. Our discovery extends by approximately 800,000 years the antiquity of stone tools and of stone-tool-assisted consumption of ungulates by hominins; furthermore, this behaviour can now be attributed to Australopithecus afarensis.
Though for food.
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Edited by RAZD, : added
Edited by Admin, : Fix title.

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Message 2 of 4 (756223)
04-16-2015 5:28 PM


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AZPaul3
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Message 3 of 4 (756315)
04-17-2015 9:44 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
04-16-2015 5:20 PM


"We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys. -42-

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caffeine
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Message 4 of 4 (756936)
04-30-2015 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
04-16-2015 5:20 PM


Interesting implications
There are several sites in which the remains of robust australopithecines are found associated with flaked stone tools. Because the robust australopithecines were contemporary with later gracile australopithecines and with early Homo, the majority opinion has generally been that these were not the toolmakers, and not the robusts.
If chipped stone tool manufacture antedates the appearance of the robust morphotype by a few hundred thousand years, this increases the possibility that they were descended from tool-makers. Isotope evidence suggest as well that (at least some) Au. robustus in South Africa were not living primarily on tough, fibrous plant foods as had long been believed based on their specialised tooth morphology.
To me at least, this all makes more plausible the idea that robust australopithecines were not the ecological specialists they're generally portrayed as. Their distinct jaw adaptations could be selected not because tough plant foods were their primary food, but because they were their fallback foods in time of stress and scarcity.

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