Old stone tools and marked animal bones suggest that ALL of Africa is the "cradle of humanity & # 39; used to be
Old human ancestors settled much earlier in North Africa than previously thought.
Researchers have found artifacts and animal bones with the cuts of stone tools at locations in Algeria dating 1.9 million and 2.4 million years old.
Although it was long believed that early hominids and their culture originated in East Africa, the discovery suggests that their distribution was much widespread, with human ancestors wandering around the Sahara around the same time.
The team discovered archaeological materials in two levels of a geological formation on a site called Ain Boucherit dating back to 2.4 million and 1.9 million years ago (photo). Later excavations revealed a large number of tools and marked bones
The oldest form of stone tools, known as the Oldowan, and its associated fossil bones can be traced to 2.6 million years to Gona, Ethiopia.
In the new study published to the journal Science, researchers now show that comparable tools quickly came to the northern tip of the continent 2.4 million years ago.
The archeology of Ain Boucherit, which is technologically similar to the Gona Oldowan, shows that our ancestors ventured into all corners of Africa, not just in East Africa. M. Sahnouni, the lead author and director of the Ain Hanech project.
& # 39; The evidence from Algeria has changed previous views on East Africa as the cradle of mankind.
In fact, all of Africa was the cradle of mankind. & # 39;
Researchers with the Ain Hanech project have been researching sites in North Africa during the last two decades and have found new indications for early hominin presence.
The team discovered archaeological materials in two levels of a geological formation at a site called Ain Boucherit dating back 2.4 million and 1.9 million years ago.
The team found stone tools and animal bones with the characteristics of skinning and venting, as shown above
After the first discoveries in 2006 and 2008, excavations of 2009-2016 uncovered a large number of tools and marked bones.
The many tools made from locally available limestone and flint, probably from a nearby old power bed, include everything from cutting tools to sharp cutting tools used for processing animal cadavers.
According to the researchers, these artefacts correspond to other Oldowan discoveries throughout East Africa, albeit with subtle variations.
On the old site, bones of all kinds of savannah were found, including mastodons, elephants, horses, rhinos, hippos, wild antelopes, pigs, hyena, crocodiles.
And many of these show the characteristics of "skinning, evisceration and discouraging activities", the team says.
The effective use of razor sharp knives with sharp edges at Ain boucherit suggests that our ancestors were not merely scavengers, & # 39; dr. Isabel Caceres, the project taponome.
Sites about the presence of old hominin have been found all over the world, starting in Africa, about 2.8 million years ago. These include stone tools (blue) and fossils (red). The oldest form of stone tools can be traced back to Ethiopia so far
Researchers have found artifacts and animal bones with the cuts of stone tools at locations in Algeria dating 1.9 million and 2.4 million years old. This means that human ancestors were much earlier in the northern tip of the continent than previously thought
"Not clear at this point whether they were hunting or not, but the evidence clearly showed that they successfully competed with meat eaters for meat and enjoyed the first access to animal carcasses," says Caceres.
The life of early hominids in North Africa is still largely a mystery, and much of what is known about these ancestral groups is derived from the tools themselves.
A recent discovery in Ethiopia, however, suggests that an early group from the Homo genus existed about 2.8 million years ago.
The researchers say that this species is probably behind the materials that occur in both East and North Africa.
WHEN PEOPLE ARE USING TOOLS?
It is difficult for scientists to say exactly when people start to make tools because the more primitive remains are a natural object rather than a human artefact.
The oldest known instruments are the Oldowan stone tools from Ethiopia, which are about 2.6 million years old.
The Acheulean tooling technology period – up to 1.76 million years ago – had large stone handbags made of flint and quartzite.
By the end of this period, the tools became more refined and followed the so-called Levallois technique, in which scrapers, cutting machines, needles and flattened needles were made.
About 50,000 years ago, more sophisticated and specialized flint tools were made and used by Neanderthals and it is believed that at this stage they were tools made from bone.
As human culture progressed, artifacts such as fish hooks, knots and bone needles were used.
Cut marks have been found on bones of animals dated to be 3.4 million years old – around the time a squat ape-like ancestor named Australopithecus afarensis – known as Lucy – roamed in Africa.
& # 39; It is clear that hominies that are contemporary for & # 39; Lucy & # 39; (dated ~ 3.2 Ma) probably roamed the Sahara and that their offspring may have been responsible for leaving the archaeological signatures now discovered in Algeria, dated at ~ 2.4 MA, which are nearby contemporary with East Africa & # 39 ;, says co-author Dr. Sileshi Semaw.
Although there is a large distance between the two locations, the researchers say it may have been a case of rapid expansion or even a scenario with multiple origins for stone implements.
If so, the team says that artifacts as old as those seen in East Africa can also be found in North Africa one day.
& # 39; Future research will focus on looking for hominefossils in nearby Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene deposits looking for toolmakers and even older stone tools, & # 39; says Dr. M. Sahnouni.