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Author Topic: Oldest flint tools  (Read 5869 times)

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Oldest flint tools
« on: 16/12/2005 15:19:35 »
I was interested to hear on the news that flint tools have been found in Suffolk that are approx 700,000 years old. Judging by some of the locals around here, I don't think Suffolk man has evolved much since then!
But seriously, it seems this indicates that there were humans in the area twice as long ago as was previously thought.
I remember reading a few years ago that the oldest human remains had been found near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya and were reckoned to be 1 million years old. There was a map showing estimated routes of migration and timescales.
When I moved to East Africa shortly after that, I visited the National Museum in Kampala, Uganda, and there was an exhibition of prehistoric artifacts that were said to be 1.5 million years old. Recently I read that other human remains had been found in East Africa that were 2 million years old.
This doubling of timescales seems to be becoming quite a habit. Obviously it throws any previous human migration theories out of the window. Have dating techniques become a lot better or is it simply down to bad archaeology and claims being made before proper research is done?


 

another_someone

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Re: Oldest flint tools
« Reply #1 on: 22/12/2005 04:13:51 »
I think it depends upon what you mean by 'human'.

Homo heidelbergensis, as its name suggests, is a human ancestor first found in the Heidelberg region of Germany in 1907, and lived between 800,000 years ago to 300,000 years ago (another reference suggests 600,000 and 250,000 years ago).  Evidence indicates that homo heidelbergensis butchered meat, possibly buried their dead, and may have had some form of vocal language.

Homo antecessor is regarded by some as the ancestor of  homo heidelbergensis, but by others as being one and the same species.  Representatives of homo antecessor are about 780,000 years ago in Europe.  These sites are associated with stone tools (and some people suggest indication of cannibalism).

None of these are homo sapiens, which only come into the picture around 200,000 years ago.

All the above is compiled from various pages on Wikipedia, if you want to go back to (relatively) original sources.
« Last Edit: 22/12/2005 04:35:03 by another_someone »
 

Offline chris

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Re: Oldest flint tools
« Reply #2 on: 22/12/2005 15:45:17 »
hi Eth

the stories you are referring to are both covered in the last 2 week's editions of Nature. Conveniently I have interviewed Tony Stuart about te Suffolk artefacts, and this week Robin Dennell from Sheffield about migration patterns and remains in Asia that totally throw current theories to the dogs.

The links to these interviews, from Nature's Podcast, are  :

Migration patterns
http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/v438/n7071/nature-2005-12-22.mp3

Suffolk Artefacts
http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/v438/n7070/nature-2005-12-15.mp3

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Oldest flint tools
« Reply #3 on: 23/12/2005 12:50:28 »
Thanks for the links, Chris.
 

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Re: Oldest flint tools
« Reply #3 on: 23/12/2005 12:50:28 »

 

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