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Lucy’s kind used stone tools to butcher animals

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

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1:03pm, August 11, 2010

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.

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