2.4-Million-Year-Old Tools are Complicating the Story of Human Evolution

The artifacts were found in Algeria.

human tools
A new archaeological discovery is stunning scientists.
Getty Images/EyeEm

A sharpened rock typical of the ancient East African Oldowan culture was recently discovered far from home, potentially shifting the human evolution timeline.

While the Oldowans who used these tools predate Homo sapiens and existed between 1.9 and 2.6 million years ago, the rock was discovered in northern Algeria. After the first “chopper” was discovered, over 250 more were found in the same area, some of which dated to 2.5 million years ago.

The tools have been determined by the research team that discovered them to be too old to have been used by Homo sapiens, but which species did create them remains a mystery. Based on this evidence, the artifacts suggest that hominins — the eldest of which is 7-million-years-old — were in North Africa 600,000 years earlier than previously believed.

“It’s extremely provocative evidence,” University of Oxford archaeologist Eleanor Scerri, who was not involved with the study, told The Atlantic. “It highlights North Africa, and the Sahara in particular, as a major region of importance in the evolutionary processes leading to our own species.

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