A collection of prehistoric stone tools and masked animals discovered in 1992 at the Ain Boucherit archaeological site on the northeast high Algerian plateau has now dated 2.4 million years ago. This dating directly challenges the current development paradigm that Africa was the "cradle of humanity," because they are about the same age as the oldest known tools that have been found in Gona, Ethiopia, dating to 2.6 million years.
The research was published in the magazine Science, The and an article in Nature informs that "The oldest known expanded stone tool technology, known as the Oldowan, is thought to have sprung up in Eastern Africa for about 2.6 million years and then spread across the continent." But this new discovery suggests that the tool production could "independently take place in different parts of Africa."
Skull reconstructed by Australopithecus garhi, one of the species that used old stone tools. (Ji-Elle / CC BY SA 3.0)
Multiple Scenario for Humanity?
The archeologists talk about Science says the tools were "typical of stone stone tools already known in this Africa" and that they were "exhausted near dozens of fossil animals, with cut marks, from early crocodiles, elephants and hippopotamuses, and archaeologists believe that could be evidence of food. "
Old artifacts, including single-core cores on limestone (1 and 9); Biface nucleus made of limestone (10) and on flinto (2); Coolest nuclei on limestone (11 and 12); core limestone (3); Total grooves on flinto (7, 16, and 17) and on limestone (4, 5, 6, 13, and 14); and removed pieces on flint (8 and 15). (The Sahnouni, M. et al .)
These new findings suggest men living in North Africa about 600,000 years earlier than previously thought, and according to an article in The Independent , this also means "Human ancestors may have walked as people much earlier than thought." According to Professor Mohamed Sahnouni at the National Research Center on Human Development in Spain, who led the research, "One hypothesis is that our early ancestors have quickly carried Stone tools with them outside East Africa and other regions. Another is a" multi-scene scenario " , in which early men have made and used tools in eastern and northern Africa. "" Algeria's evidence shows that the cradle of people was not restricted only to eastern Africa. "The African continent was rather the cradle of humanity," added Professor Sahnouni.
Fight for the Planet of the Monkeys
"But who made the tools"? asks an article in New Scientist . "There are no human fossils at Ain Boucherit, so the identity of the tool is unclear. Hominin's evolution of 2.4 million years ago was in progress. Successful previous members, including Australopithecus, they began to disappear, and early species of People had taken over. "Professor Sahnouni suspects" that the Algerian tools were made by one of these soon People species. "Professor Jessica Thompson at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who did not participate in the study, told reporters at the New Scientist" If I had an inscription and I had to choose one, that would be the I, D-election. "
The original complete skull (without upper teeth and edible) from a sample of Australopithecus africanus of 2.1 million years called Mrs. Ples, discovered in South Africa. (José Braga; Didier Descouens / CC BY SA 4.0)
However, it is also Professor Thompson, who assures some of the advertisements made by scientists, for example, while she agrees that the calculations are actually tools, "she is not convinced that the animals are covered by markers" natural processes could scratch the surface of the bones in a similar way. "What's more, Thompson also contested the dating of the stone tools, saying" they could not be totally 2.4 million years, since this date assumes the soil and sediment at Ain Boucherit accumulated at a constant pace. "
Evidence of hominin performance by Ain Boucherit faunal assemblages. (A and B) cutting a mark in medium size bovine moisture axis (A) with a SEM micro-graphic detail (B). (C and D) A calculated equestrian heel (C) with a SEM micro-graphic detail (D). (E) Hammerstone perched medium size long bone. (F) Bone bone. (G) Extraordinary tibia showing cortical percussion mass. (The Sahnouni, M. et al )
Whether the marks on the bones are natural or cut by hand, only time will be said, but Professor Sahnouni and colleague Mathieu Duval finished in an article: "This new discovery modifies our understanding of the time and diffusion of old stone stone technology throughout Africa and outside the continent. "
Top Image: Old stone tool core freshly excavated at Ain Boucherit, Algeria. Source: M. Sahnouni
Of Ashley Cowie