A set of prehistoric stone tools and slaughtered animal bones was discovered in 1992 in Ain Boucherit's archaeological site on…
A set of prehistoric stone tools and slaughtered animal bones was discovered in 1992 in Ain Boucherit’s archaeological site on the northeastern Algerian plateau, now dated to 2.4 million years old. This dating directly challenges the current evolutionary paradigm that East Africa was “the cradle of humanity”, because they are about the same age as the oldest known tools found in Gona, Ethiopia, dating to 2.6 million years old.
The research was published in the journal Science and an article in Nature describes that “The oldest known widening stone tool technique, called Oldowan, is believed to have occurred in East Africa for about 2.6 million years ago and then spread throughout the continent. “But this new discovery suggests that tool production could” have become independent in different parts of Africa “.
A reconstructed skull of an Australopithecus garhi, one of the species that used Oldowan-like stone tools. (Ji-Elle / CC BY SA 3.0)
The archeologists’ report in Science states that the tools were “typical of the Oldowan stone tools already known in East Africa” and that they “were upgrading close to dozens of fossil beasts with spikes on them from early crocodiles, elephants and hippos, and archaeologists believe that there may be evidence of meat seal. “
Oldowan artifacts, including unifacial limestone lime (1 and 9); bifacial core of limestone (10) and on flint (2); limestone polyhedral cores (11 and 12); Subclactic core of limestone (3); whole flakes on flint (7, 16 and 17) and on limestone (4, 5, 6, 13 and 14); and retouched pieces on flint (8 and 15). Sahnouni, M. et al. .)
These new findings suggest that hominins inhabited North Africa about 600,000 years earlier than previously believed, and according to an article in The Independent ]it also means that “human ancestors may have gone as people far earlier than imagined”. According to Professor Mohamed Sahnouni at the National Research Center for Human Evolution in Spain, who led the research, “One hypothesis is that our ancestors quickly brought stone tools with them from East Africa and into other regions. Another is a” multiple origin scenario “there early hominids created and used tools in both eastern and northern Africa. “” Evidence from Algeria shows that the cradle of humanity was not limited to only East Africa. Rather, the entire African continent was the cradle of humanity, “added Professor Sahnouni.
“But who did the tools”? asks an ar ticle in New Scientist . “There are no human fossils at Ain Boucherit, so the tool maker’s identity is unclear. Hominin evolution 2.4 million years ago was in flow. Successful former hominins, including Australopithecus began to disappear and early species of Homo took over. “Professor Sahnouni suspects that the Algerian tools were made by one of these early Homo . “Professor Jessica Thompson at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who was not involved in the study told journalists at New Scientist” If I had an appointment and I had to choose one, that would be the one I would choose. “
] The original full skull (without upper teeth and almonds) of a 2.1 million year old Australopithecus africanus sample, so-called Mrs. Ples, discovered in South Africa. (José Braga, Didier Descouens / CC BY SA 4.0)  However, it is also Professor Thompson who gives some skepticism to some of the claims the researchers make, for example, while she agrees if the stones are actually tools, “she is not convinced that the animal legs are covered in cutmarks because” natural processes can scratch the surface of the legs in a similar manner “. In addition, Thompson also forces them to share the stone tools and says, “they may not be quite 2.4 million years old, because that date assumes that the Earth and the sediment of Ain Boucherit are still accumulating.”
Evidence of hominin activity from Ain Boucherit fauna collections. (A and B) Disc marking on a medium-sized bovine humerus axis (A) with SEM micrograph (B). (C and D) Cut-off equivalent calcaneum (C) with SEM micrograph detail (D). (E) Hammerstone percussed medium-sized long legs. (F) Benfling. (G) Equid Tibia showing cortical percussion notch. Sahnouni, M. et al. )
If the markings on the legs are natural or carved by hand, only time will tell, but Professor Sahnouni and colleague Mathieu Duval concluded in a common article: ” This new discovery modifies our understanding of the newspaper and the diffusion of Oldowan stone tool technology across Africa and beyond the continent. “
Top view: An old stone tool core newly buried at Ain Boucherit, Algeria. Source: M. Sahnouni
By Ashley Cowie