The oldest tools in the world were discovered, not long ago, at a digging site in northwestern Kenya. The stone tools which were discovered in 2012, were created and used around 3.3 million years ago, about 500,000 years sooner than it was previously thought that human ancestors were using tools.
The artifacts were described by their finders, Harmand and Lewis, in an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. The discovery of the ancient tools brings into question everything scientists knew about the moment in which tools began being used.
This 3.3 million years old tools represent a archeological record and offers new information about the hominin mind.
The hominins is a group of species to which our very own ancestor, Homo Sapiens, belongs to and, until now, it was believed that the first tools were created by the Homo species.
The newly discovered artifacts have been evaluated as being as old as the volcanic ashes that surrounded the site, which is 3.3 million years. In the Kenyan site there were over 140 of such tools discovered.
The creator of these tools is thought to have been a member of the Kenyanthropus platytops species, because remains of a 3.3 million million years old skull, belonging to this species, was also discovered in the vicinity of the digging site. A tooth was also discovered around 100 meters away from the camp, but there is little data available for its dating.
However, the creator of the tools could also have been the Australopithecus afarensis, another species of hominins that lived in that day and area, or it might have been an unknown early type of the Homo species.
This new findings might prove that other earlier species of hominins, besides Homo, managed to created tools of their own.
The Kenyanthropus platytops is believed to have lived 500,000 years before the Homo species appeared and it is yet unknown if and how the two species are related.
After gathering and studying isotopes from the soil, scientists managed to conclude that, more than 3 million years ago, the area where the tools were found was covered in trees and shrubbery. This means that the stone tools, which were probably created by being banged against each other, were used to crack open nuts and other types of hard fruits or to cut bark in order to get access to the insects underneath.
This also means that early hominins were able to use tools to hunt animals and have a meat diet.
Image Source: discovermagazine