Sunday, October 16, 2011

Early human migration written in stone tools

This article from Nature discusses the recent discovery of ancient stone tools at Jebel Faya in the United Arab Emirates. Researchers unearthed three collections of broken and unfinished hand-held axes and leaf-like blades, the oldest of which has been dated to 95,000 to 125,000 years old. They believe these tools resemble those of early humans rather than those of our archaic relatives. With genetic evidence suggesting dispersal from Africa at around 60,000 years ago, the discoverers of the Jebel Faya tools incited controversy when they claimed the tools' makers may have actually been modern humans. Many archaeologists maintain that the tools must have been created by our archaic relatives, but as one Jebel Faya team member said, "The idea that they left Africa at 60,000 and ended up at Australia at 50,000--my God, did they ever stop running!"

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