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Scientists discover oldest evidence of human stone tool use and meat-eating
Date:8/12/2010

nes, it is impossible to tell from the marks alone whether they were making their tools or simply finding and using naturally sharp rocks. So far, the research team has not found evidence of stone tool manufacture at Dikika from this early time period. This could indicate that the Dikika residents were simply opportunistic about finding and using naturally occurring sharp-edged stones. However, the sedimentary environment at the site suggests another potential explanation.

"For the most part, the only stones we see coming from these ancient sediments at Dikika are pebbles too small for making tools," says McPherron. "The hominins at this site probably carried their stone tools with them from better raw material sources elsewhere. One of our goals is to go back and see if we can find these locations and evidence that at this early date they were actually making, not just using, stone tools."

"Tool use in A. afarensis demonstrated by our discovery adds uniquely to the accumulating evidence that the Selam and Lucy species was ancestral to tool-making species including our genus Homo," says Alemseged.

While many questions remain about the history of tool use and tool making and about the timing and motivation of dietary changes among human ancestors, this discovery adds a rich new chapter to the story - a story that is deeply relevant to what makes us unique as a species.


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Contact: Sandra Jacob
jacob@eva.mpg.de
49-341-355-0122
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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