Archaeologists have discovered dozens of primitive tools fashioned by direct human ancestors in Kenya and Ethiopia 1.75 million years ago.
The Acheulean age of toolmaking, noted for its thinner, more symmetric weapons, appears to have developed with Homo erectus, earlier and over a wider area than previously thought, according to a study published Monday in the National Academy of Sciences journal.
Analyzing tools, rock sediment and the geological history of the Turkana Basin in northern Kenya and the Konso region in southern Ethiopia, researchers concluded Acheulean tools including hand axes, cleavers and picks and core-axes began taking on greater refinement just as Homo erectus came into the picture.
The tools discovered in Konso had thick-pointed tips and long, durable cutting edges, similar to the tools found hundreds of miles south in Kenya, the scientists reported. The tools show more craftsmanship – more edged sides and scars of chipping and shaving – than do those of the previous tool era, the Oldowan.