Latest Issue of Science News


Lucy’s kind used stone tools to butcher animals

African fossils bear 3.4-million-year-old traces of tool-using carnivores.

For Lucy and her ancient hominid comrades, raw meat sliced off animal carcasses was what’s for dinner. That’s the implication of a new study, published in the Aug. 12 Nature, describing butchery marks made by stone implements on two animal bones from about 3.4 million years ago.

If the new analysis holds up, it provides the oldest known evidence of stone-tool use and meat eating by members of the human evolutionary family. It’s also the first sign of such behavior in hominids preceding the Homo lineage, say anthropologist Shannon McPherron of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and his colleagues.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.