Story 2015-04-21 7H94 World's oldest stone tools are older than modern humans

World's oldest stone tools are older than modern humans

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in hardware on (#7H94)
story imageThe oldest known stone tools in the world were made some 3.3 million years ago, which would make these newly discovered implements older than modern humans. Archaeologists working in the Kenyan Rift Valley that discovered the tools said the set of 20 stone flakes and anvils are some 700,000 years older than stone tools from Ethiopia that previously held this record. These tools predate the earliest fossils representing our genus, Homo, by 500,000 years. What these tools suggest is that stone tool manufacture didn't begin with Homo as previously held but with a more primitive member of the human family.

Scientists working at the site of Dikika, Ethiopia in 2010 where fossils belonging to Lucy's species had previously turned up said they had recovered 3.4 million year-old animal bones bearing distinctive marks. They argued hominins had made the marks in the course of slicing meat off the bones with stone tools. The claim caused heated debate with some scientists saying the alleged cut marks were instead the result of the bones having been trampled by passing animals. Others suggested they were bite marks from crocodiles.
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The alternative explanation... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by reziac@pipedot.org on 2015-04-22 07:54 (#7JFJ)

...is that tool-using humans are older than they think, but that fossil specimens have not been recovered (and might never be).

Re: The alternative explanation... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by lmariachi@pipedot.org on 2015-04-22 21:02 (#7M1Z)

Or that the lines delineating human and proto-human species are blurrier than traditional taxonomy is adequate to describe. We don’t have DNA samples from specimens that ancient, AFAIK.

Re: The alternative explanation... (Score: 1)

by reziac@pipedot.org on 2015-04-23 19:22 (#7PBD)

That too. I've often wondered how many of the specimens we have were not actually from a separate species, but rather, just outlier specimens of the same species.

And how many outliers of other species have been misidentified as belonging to various proto-humans, too.

Without DNA analysis, we're really just guessing. What if they were looking at the fossilized remains of all of today's 300+ breeds of dog, with all the variation those encompass? would they be ID'd as 300 different species??

Re: The alternative explanation... (Score: 1)

by nightsky30@pipedot.org on 2015-04-24 16:46 (#7RDT)

Agreed. We do know we have Neanderthal DNA left over in us today. Maybe we are the "mutts".