Earliest known stone tools unearthed in Kenya | Science News

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Earliest known stone tools unearthed in Kenya

At 3.3 million years old, large flakes, cores predate the origin of the genus Homo

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1:00pm, May 20, 2015
stone tool

ROCK STEADY  A stone tool discovered at a 3.3-million-year old site in Kenya displays edge damage where sharp pieces of rock were removed, its discoverers say. 

Excavations in an arid, hilly part of East Africa have uncovered 3.3-million-year-old stone tools, by far the oldest such implements found to date.

 

The tools’ age indicates that members of the human evolutionary family understood how to break stones into usable forms long before the emergence of the Homo genus, say archaeologist Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University in New York and her colleagues. The genus Homo, which includes people today, originated around 2.8 million years ago (SN: 4/4/15, p. 8).

 

Hominids at Kenya’s Lomekwi 3 site made rocks into pounding tools, chiseled chunks — called cores — from which sharp flakes presumably used for cutting were removed, and platforms on which cores were pounded, the scientists report in the

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