The early human migrations out of Africa set the stage for human history. Now, ancient tools and bones discovered in north-central China suggest that migration happened at least 270,000 years earlier than previously thought.
“Our discovery means it is necessary now to reconsider the timing of when early humans left Africa,” says press statement. The newly discovered tools are approximately 2.12 million years old.of Exeter University, who helped lead the study with Zhaoyu Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in a
The ancient tools, which include a notch, scrapers, a cobble, hammer stones and various pointed pieces, all show signs of intentional use. They were all made from quartzite and quartz, likely from the nearby Qinling Mountains and related rivers that would send rocks towards the excavation site.
The Loess Plateau, which spans about 10,400 square miles, is named after the German word for “loose dust,” which has collected on the region of centuries. Some 80 stone tools and artifacts were found in 11 different layers of soil that provided a moist, damp environment, while 16 items were found under cooler, drier conditions. This variety of locations shows that humanity was adapting to different climates even at this early stage.
The oldest signs of human migration before the discovery in China appeared in Dmanisi, Georgia, where skeletal remains and tools were found that dated back 1.85 million years.
Humanity’s relationship with tools has been a mainstay through the existence of the species. A recent study of a specific cave in Kenya showed mankind’s evolving relationship with objects from 78,000 years ago through the Iron Age.
Source: University of Exeter
Previously published by: Popular Mechanics USA