Cave rock from 4 5 mya dating technique

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—Researchers at a meeting here say they have found the oldest tools made by human ancestors—stone flakes dated to 3.3 million years ago.

Researchers who have seen the tools in person are enthusiastic about the claim.The finds are “very exciting,” says Alison Brooks, an anthropologist at George Washington University in Washington, D. “They could not have been created by natural forces …[and] the dating evidence is fairly solid.” She agrees that the tools are too early to have been made by , suggesting that “technology played a major role in the emergence of our genus.” The claim also looks good to paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged of the California Academy of Sciences here, a leader of the team that found cut marks on the Dikika animal bones.(At the meeting, another team member presented new arguments for the cut marks’ authenticity.) “With the cut marks from Dikika we had the victim” of the stone tools, Alemseged says.

Over the last decade, there have been a number of important fossil discoveries in Africa of what may be very early transitional ape/hominins, or proto-hominins.

The earliest australopithecines very likely did not evolve until 5 million years ago or shortly thereafter (during the beginning of the Pliocene Epoch) in East Africa.