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‘The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopa’ exhibit at Houston Museum of Natural Science featuring a model of “Lucy”, Australopithecus Afarensis.

Oldest Tools in the World Found at Lake Turkana, Predate Early Humans

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Half a million years before early humans arrived on the scene, the prehistoric hominins living in East Africa were shaping tools out of stone. These rare artifacts have been discovered by scientists working near Lake Turkana, Kenya. They are said to be the oldest stone tools ever found, predating previous tools by 700,000 years.

The landscape of fossil-rich Lake Turkana, Kenya.

The landscape of fossil-rich Lake Turkana, Kenya. Wikimedia Commons

The team of scientists involved in the West Turkana Archaeological Project found the tools by chance when they began investigations at a previously unexplored site near Lake Turkana— Lomekwi 3. Amazingly, some of the tools were found on the surface of the soil, while others were discovered through excavation. They appear to have been created more than 3.3 million years ago.

The finds are significant, as they demonstrate that someone was shaping tools 500,000 years before our ancestors of the genus Homo, considered the first fully fledged humans. Researchers presume the tools were shaped by an earlier genus, possibly Australopithecus (often associated with the well-known fossil Lucy) who appeared in Africa approximately four million years ago.

The findings have been reported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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In all, the team, led by archaeologist Sonia Harmand of New York’s Stony Brook University, found 20 flakes, cores, and anvils used as a base to shape stones, with “telltale marks of intentional engineering”. They also uncovered an additional 130 other tools, according to science magazine Discover.

The Telegraph reports that the artifacts were clearly and deliberately “knapped” or flaked. It is not believed the tools were created by accidental fracture or natural forces.

Levallois point blademaking technique, a distinctive type of tool crafting or “knapping” developed by precursors to modern humans during the Palaeolithic.

Levallois point blademaking technique, a distinctive type of tool crafting or “knapping” developed by precursors to modern humans during the Palaeolithic. Representational image only. Wikimedia Commons

Knapping a stone piece produces smaller flakes with sharp edges. These sharp objects are useful for cutting meat off bones or working with plants. The original rock pieces possess characteristic marks, indicating they’ve been used in crafting.

Illustration of the species Homo habilis (genus Homo between 2.1 and 1.5 million years ago) shaping a tool by “knapping”.

Illustration of the species Homo habilis (genus Homo between 2.1 and 1.5 million years ago) shaping a tool by “knapping”. Credit: Vassar.edu

The unique Lake Turkana in Kenya is the world’s largest alkaline lake, as well as the world’s largest permanent desert lake. This archaeologically significant area has offered up fossils of major importance in the study of human origins and evolution.

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Satellite image of Lake Turkana illustrating its beautiful jade color. Due to amazing fossilised finds, the site is considered the cradle of humankind.

Satellite image of Lake Turkana illustrating its beautiful jade color. Due to amazing fossilised finds, the site is considered the cradle of humankind.  Public Domain

The team suggests the finds contribute significantly to the present understanding of hominid behavior, and its diversity through time. Harmand said of the discovery, “The Lomekwi 3 tools mark a new beginning to the known archaeological record.”

The remarkable discovery of the stone tools was announced at a meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society this month.

Featured Image: ‘The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopa’ exhibit at Houston Museum of Natural Science featuring a model of “Lucy”, Australopithecus Afarensis. The Turkana stone tools are thought to have been made by Australopithecus or a contemporary species. Jason Kuffer/ Flickr

By Liz Leafloor

Comments

Leaky did not find Lucy. Donald C. Johanson, a paleoanthropologist, found Lucy in 1974. Actually his 9 year old son found it.

“They appear to have been created more than 3.3 million years ago.”

Dating of ancient artifacts mostly consists of fitting them into existing theory of the age of strata.  When Leaky found Lucy he dated the bones at maybe 500,000 years, but now theory, not fact, has moved the dates back to about 3 million years.

The entire ancient dating method depends on uniformitarian, super slow, incremental changes to the geological landscape.  But catastrophism explains the observed facts on the ground much more easily than uniformitarianism.  Unfortunately, a handful of creationist scientists have written some of the very best work on catastrophism, so creationism and catatrophism have become merged in the minds of many.

This theory, first proposed by James Hutton and later “refined” by the Scottish lawyer, Charles Lyell, has zero scientific evidence to support it.

Lyell “believe,” and I put “believed” in quotes because it amounted to no more, that earth’s geological features happened due to process still in existence and still happening today.

So because of Lyell, many scientists accept that mountains took millions or billions of years to form.

But despite the public belief in uniformity of scientific belief, many scientists dispute uniformitarianism.

The entire field of study of the Cretaceous now believes an asteroid impact killed most of the dinosaurs.

Space exploration has shown that most of the bodies in our solar system, including the earth, have suffered massive astral collisions.  Over and over again.  The Schumacher Levy 9 crash into Jupiter a few years ago illustrated the point.

 

 

Tom Carberry

Roberto Peron's picture

Look like geofacts to me not artifacts.  And some were just laying atop the ground???

 

 

Historial facts can not be refuted

There are several methods of dating rocks. Most common methods are radiocarbon dating, which has several variations, another type is thermoluminescence. Often rocks can't be directly aged so they search the soil in the same layer for objects that can be determined. They can even estimate the date when a stone point (arrowhead) is manufactured from a much older rock.

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