California Academy of Sciences: Human Evolution — Tool use by early humans started much earlier. The Academy’s Zeray Alemseged reveals his latest discovery: human stone tool use dating back to 3.4 million years ago. Small-brained human ancestors used stone tools to whack into large mammals some 800,000 years earlier than previously thought.
– The earliest known evidence for stone tool use and meat eating among early humans is found.
– The evidence — butchered, fossilized bones — dates to roughly 3.4 million years ago.
– It’s believed the ancestor Australopithecus afarensis (to which “Lucy” belongs) used the tools.
BBC News: Tool-making and meat-eating began 3.5 million years ago
Researchers have found evidence that hominins – early human ancestors – used stone tools to cleave meat from animal bones more than 3.2 million years ago. That pushes back the earliest known tool use and meat-eating in such hominins by more than 800,000 years.
Bones found in Ethiopia show cuts from stone and indications that the bones were forcibly broken to remove marrow. The research, in the journal Nature, challenges several notions about our ancestors’ behaviour.
Previously the oldest-known use of stone tools came from the nearby Gona region of Ethiopia, dating back to about 2.5 million years ago. That suggests that it was our more direct ancestors, members of our own genus Homo, that were the first to use tools.
But the marked bones were found in the Dikika region, with their age determined by dating the nearby volcanic rock — to between 3.2 million and 3.4 million years ago.
A battery of tests showed that the cuts, scrapes and scratches were made before the bones fossilised, and detailed analysis even showed that there were bits of stone lodged in one of the cuts.
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