Oldest Stone Tools dated 1.76 mn year & Popularly known as Acheulian Tools discovered in Kenya

International Current Affairs 2011. Journal Nature on 1 September mentioned the recovery of rare haul of picks, flakes and hand axes from ancient sediments in Kenya

Created On: Sep 2, 2011 17:18 ISTModified On: Sep 2, 2011 17:18 IST

New geological study reported in the journal Nature on 1 September mentioned the recovery of rare haul of picks, flakes and hand axes from ancient sediments in Kenya. The stone tools are believed to be the oldest remains of advanced stone tools yet discovered. Archaeologists unearthed the implements while excavating mudstone banks on the shores of Lake Turkana in the remote north-west of the country.


American researchers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of Columbia University, established the age of the Turkana tools by dating the surrounding mudstone with a paleomagnetic technique.


The largest of the tools are around 20 cm long and have been chipped into shape on two sides, a hallmark of more sophisticated stone tool making techniques probably developed by Homo erectus, a long-dead ancestor of modern humans. Known as Acheulian tools, they are larger, heavier and have sharp cutting edges that are chipped from opposite sides into the familiar teardrop shape.


The stone tools were reported to have been made for crushing, cutting and scraping, gave early humans a means to butcher animal carcasses, strip them of meat and crack open their bones to expose the nutritious marrow.


Researchers dated the sediments where the tools were found to 1.76 million years old. Until now, the earliest stone tools of this kind were estimated to be 1.4m years old and came from a haul in Konso, Ethiopia. Others found in India are dated more vaguely, between 1m and 1.5m years old.


Older, cruder stone tools have been found. The most ancient evidence of toolmaking by early humans and their relatives dates to 2.6 million years ago and includes simple pebble-choppers for hacking and crushing. However the latest collection of stone tools from Kenya belong to a second, more advanced generation of toolmaking.

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