2.3 myr old complex tools

Glenn R. Morton (grmorton@waymark.net)
Sat, 15 May 1999 14:57:46 -0500

About 2 weeks ago, there were reports of the discovery of a 2.34 myr
old tool factory with tools of a complexity which surprised
anthropologists. The site illuminates many mental processes going on in
hominids of that time. They were experimenting. They would pick up a
rock strike it once or twice to see if it would produce flakes of the
correct sharpness. If it didn't, they would throw the rock down and
pick up another. If it was fine-grained enough, and produced a good
flake, they would then use it as a core and remove up to 30 different
flakes from it. The researchers were able to reconstruct the original
rocks by fitting the flakes back together. It is the core technology
which is quite advanced for 2.3 myr ago.
These people were not just banging rocks together, they were planning
each strike. They had to calculate the proper angle for the hit, they
had to have a mental concept of what type of flake they were trying to
remove, and they had to have excellent hand-eye coordination.
Given what we know of the fossil men alive at that time, the tool-maker
was either Homo habilis or an australopithecine. Whoever it was, they
had a lot of skill. Once again, we have underestimated the intelligence
and skill of the ancient hominids.
This site dates 700,000 years earlier than the next most recent site
with similarly complex tools!

More can be found at:

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/stonetools990505.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_336000/336555.stm
http://search.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WAPO/19990505/V000205-050599-idx.html

-- 
glenn

Foundation, Fall and Flood Adam, Apes and Anthropology http://www.isource.net/~grmorton/dmd.htm