Archaeologists in Kenya have dug up some of the oldest stone tools ever used by ancient humans, dating back around 2.9 million years.
It is obvious that other early human subspecies, besides Homo Sapiens, also employed the tools.
According to the researchers, the tools were used to butcher hippos and crush plant resources like tubers and berries.
The site has two enormous fossilized teeth that belonged to Paranthropus, an extinct relative of humans.
Oldowan tools, a type of basic stone tool, were assumed to have only been utilized by our species’ and our closest relatives’ predecessors, Homo Sapiens, until recently.
On the Homa Peninsula in western Kenya’s Nyayanga, an excavation site, no fossils of Homo sapiens were discovered.
Instead, there were 330 stone tools and two teeth from a species of ape-like and human-like creatures called Paranthropus.
“With these tools, you can crush better than an elephant’s molar can and cut better than a lion’s canine can,” said Prof Rick Potts, of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a senior author of the study.
“Oldowan technology was like suddenly evolving a brand new set of teeth outside your body, and it opened up a new variety of foods on the African savannah to our ancestors.“
“The association of these Nyayanga tools with Paranthropus may reopen the case as to who made the oldest Oldowan tools. Perhaps not only Homo, but other kinds of hominins were processing food with Oldowan technology,” said anthropologist Thomas Plummer of Queens College in New York City, lead author of the research published in the journal Science.
According to academics, the most recent discovery of Oldowan tools demonstrates a substantial increase in skill over older, more primitive stone tools that date back as far as 3.3 million years, before the origin of the Homo genus.
The genus Australopithecus, notable for the even older fossil “Lucy,” discovered in 1974 in northern Ethiopia, was one of the several hominins living at the period.