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Earliest Stone Tools And Bones Site Discovered
Newswise ^ | 11-3-2003 | Southern Connecicut State University

Posted on 11/04/2003 4:11:26 PM PST by blam

Source: Southern Connecticut State University
Released: Mon 03-Nov-2003, 14:00 ET

Earliest Stone Tools and Bones Site Discovered

An assistant professor of anthropology has discovered the earliest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture and use in a controlled setting, in an excavation in Gona, Ethiopia. His research team dates the tools they found to 2.6 million years old.

Newswise — Michael Rogers, an assistant professor of anthropology at Southern Connecticut State University, has discovered the earliest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture and use in a controlled setting, in an excavation in Gona, Ethiopia. Rogers and his research team date the tools they found to 2.6 million years old. An article reporting their findings was published in the September 2003 issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.

Three years ago, Rogers was in Ethiopia working on a paleoanthropological research project in Gona, in an area that hadn’t been looked at before. He found a few flakes—tools that are pieces of stone chipped off of a larger stone—and began digging with a crew of experienced excavators. What they eventually discovered is a significant development in the field of paleoanthropology: the earliest stone tools and animal bones at the same site, clearly associated with each other, indicating early humans’ use of tools to provide food for themselves.

“This is the earliest site that really documents the two together,” says Rogers, adding, “There’s no question that they are associated with each other. Our ancestors were using the artifacts to process animal parts, which probably shows that humans were expanding their diets to include animals and were no longer largely vegetarians—they were becoming at least partly carnivorous.”

At the time of the discovery, Rogers was part of an international research team, the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project, led by Sileshi Semaw, Ph.D., an Ethiopian anthropologist working at CRAFT Research Center, Indiana University. Gona is in Ethiopia’s Awash Valley, nearly at sea level. This area was already known to have the earliest stone tools, and is adjacent to Hadar, where “Lucy,” probably the most famous hominid fossil yet to be discovered, was found in 1974.

Researchers on the Gona Project have found cutmarked bones before, says Rogers, but not in a controlled setting. The setting where he and his group made their discovery is an excavation area that is four meters wide by one meter deep. Several hundred artifacts were found in this area. “If this was the earliest site in the world, we expected things to be crude, but the tools appear to have been well made,” says Rogers. The tools they found “are incredibly fresh for their age,” he adds. “The condition of the site, for its age, is shocking.”

Rogers says the site is on the bank of a river and at one time was probably covered over when the river flooded and hasn’t been touched since. “This site is in pristine condition,” he says. “We know it hasn’t been moved.” The materials the researchers found are being kept at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.

Rogers and his colleagues found at the site diverse types of stone, indicating that the toolmakers were discriminating about the materials they chose to use. “Our ancestors had to know what kind of rock flakes the best,” says Rogers. “They chose only the rarest kinds of cobbles from the ancient stream bed nearby for their ‘flake-ability.’ They were being very selective.”

Rogers says that the group’s find shows the start of something that hasn’t yet stopped: human beings’ use of technology. “You can trace our technology use way back,” he says. “These stone tools show that our human ancestors were capable of creating something completely new and that they had an insight about what they were creating.”

In his anthropology classes, Rogers shows his students how flaking works, and then has them give it a try. To do it, one holds the core stone in one hand and a smaller stone in the other, and then hits the smaller stone against the core, with the goal of flaking pieces off. It’s not easy to do well, Rogers points out, so the earliest toolmakers must have had some kind of skill. “You have to make a glancing blow, at the right angle and with the right force. It requires good eye-hand coordination. And you have to choose the right kind of stone. All of this was abundantly evident at the site.”

In the field of the earliest archaeology, Rogers says, “everything is in Africa—there is nothing older anywhere else. People say it all the time: Africa is the cradle of humankind.”


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; bones; discovered; earliest; economic; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; stone; tools
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1 posted on 11/04/2003 4:11:26 PM PST by blam
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To: farmfriend
ping.
2 posted on 11/04/2003 4:14:38 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Nah. They just stumbled onto the DU....
3 posted on 11/04/2003 4:50:03 PM PST by JoJo Gunn (Liberalism - Better Living through Histrionics )
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; Alas Babylon!; annyokie; bd476; BiffWondercat; Bilbo Baggins; billl; ..
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.

For real time political chat - Radio Free Republic chat room

4 posted on 11/04/2003 9:13:47 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
What an incredible find. I'm impressed it hasn't been touched in over 2 million years...
5 posted on 11/04/2003 10:08:25 PM PST by stands2reason (REWARD! Tagline missing since 10/21. Pithy, clever. Last seen in Chat. Sentimental value.)
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To: blam
Interesting article; thanks for posting it,

2.6 MYA would certainly be older than homo sapiens and neanderthals. So these would have been made by h. erectus? or ergaster?

6 posted on 11/05/2003 9:14:18 AM PST by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%; Aric2000; balrog666; BMCDA; CobaltBlue; Condorman; Dimensio; Doctor Stochastic; ...
Science thread ping.

Patrick, hope its OK to borrow your ping list.

7 posted on 11/05/2003 9:16:26 AM PST by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: Lurking Libertarian
Post modern man --- liberals - rats !


8 posted on 11/05/2003 9:19:29 AM PST by f.Christian (( Alpha - Omega Design - Architecture ... designeduniverse.com --- Science3000 ! ))
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To: Lurking Libertarian
Thanks for the ping....
9 posted on 11/05/2003 9:28:01 AM PST by Ogmios (Since when is 66 senate votes for judicial confirmations constitutional?)
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To: Ogmios
The liberals are running the media - schools ... higher education --- writing history - science ...

mind rabies -- evolution !

Even working hard on the FR too !

10 posted on 11/05/2003 9:41:41 AM PST by f.Christian (( Alpha - Omega Design - Architecture ... designeduniverse.com --- Science3000 ! ))
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To: Lurking Libertarian
2.6 MYA would certainly be older than homo sapiens and neanderthals. So these would have been made by h. erectus? or ergaster?

Answering my own question: according to this time line, the likeliest species to have been making tools 2.6 million years ago would be homo habilis.

11 posted on 11/05/2003 9:42:50 AM PST by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: f.Christian
"you're comfortable with that ... glob - god - didit --- gobble - gobble - turkey !"

Please quit messing up the threads I post, I don't disrupt yours.

13 posted on 11/05/2003 9:57:36 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
You only posted a third of the post ... how come ?

Evolution uses existence as proof with no explanation of existence ...

it happens (( Atheo - anarcho - loon psuedo science)) ---

can't deal with substance --- only style ? ?

Do you think I'm going to rollover and let the FR rats knaw me to death ?

14 posted on 11/05/2003 10:02:08 AM PST by f.Christian (( Alpha - Omega Design - Architecture ... designeduniverse.com --- Science3000 ! ))
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To: blam
Take away people's guns (( hard )) on the FR is a no - no ...

take away their minds (( easy )) via evolution --- must - must !

Why would the 1st matter ... skip it ?
15 posted on 11/05/2003 10:04:35 AM PST by f.Christian (( Alpha - Omega Design - Architecture ... designeduniverse.com --- Science3000 ! ))
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To: blam
Disrupter ... how high up you in the evo religion - cabal ?

I've been on the FR ... this is my 6th year --- and personally I have outed - offed more liberal disrupters than probably anyone else --- put together !

For the 1st two years I kept a list in my memory I couldn't keep up with ...

I ain't gonna back down to any of you !

Will FR - America become a science fiction cult like you - yours ... there is ultimately an exit strategy for you - your cult buddies coming --- soon - hard !
16 posted on 11/05/2003 10:11:24 AM PST by f.Christian (( Alpha - Omega Design - Architecture ... designeduniverse.com --- Science3000 ! ))
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To: blam
It's all an illusion put there to deceive us. Don't be fooled!

Here's all you need:
http://www.swcp.com/creation/Museum/TL_Flood.GIF
17 posted on 11/05/2003 10:15:17 AM PST by mgstarr
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To: blam
From your bio page the only thing I can determine ...

you are tarzan trolling for a jane !


The evo jungle ---

anything about conservatism ?


This is quite typical of the evo republicans ... quackery !
18 posted on 11/05/2003 10:20:03 AM PST by f.Christian (( Alpha - Omega Design - Architecture ... designeduniverse.com --- Science3000 ! ))
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To: mgstarr
I often wonder which threads degenerate faster - the Evolution/Creation ones or the USS Liberty ones. I think it's a tie.
19 posted on 11/05/2003 10:31:33 AM PST by mgstarr
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To: blam
Thanks neat post. "Rogers shows his students how flaking works, and then has them give it a try."

I'd like to try this even though I'll probably knock my knuckle off! My son and I watched an anthropology program last night where someone suggested that the reason that we have a refined ability to use thumb and forefinger was that it was evolutionarily advantageous for tool manufacture. I hadn't heard that one before.
20 posted on 11/05/2003 10:34:26 AM PST by Varda
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