The world’s oldest stone tools have been discovered, scientists report. They were unearthed from the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya, and date to 3.3 million years ago. They are 700,000 years older than any tools found before, even pre-dating the earliest humans in the Homo genus. The find, reported in Nature, suggests that more ancient species, such as Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, may have been more sophisticated than was thought. “They are significantly earlier than anything that has been found previously,” said Dr Nick Taylor, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) in France and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. “It’s really quite astonishing to think what separates the previous oldest site and this site is 700,000 years of time. It’s monumental.”
The first tools from the site, which is called Lomekwi 3, were discovered in 2011. They were spotted after researchers took a wrong turn as they walked through the hot, dry Kenyan landscape. By the end of 2012, a total of 149 tools had been found, and another field trip in 2014 has unearthed more still. They include sharp flakes of stone, sheared off from larger rocks, which were most likely used for cutting. Hammers and anvils were also excavated, some of which were huge in size.
“The very largest one we have weighs 15kg, which is massive,” Dr Taylor told BBC News.” On this piece, it doesn’t show the signs of actually having been flaked to produce other artefacts… rather, it was probably used as an anvil. “It probably rested in the soil and the other cobbles brought to the site, which were intended to be smashed apart to make tools, were struck against this large anvil.” Source: Oldest stone tools pre-date earliest humans