Chipped flakes of stone formed into primitive blades from more than two million years ago have been unearthed in China – and could rewrite the early story of our species.
The ancient stone tools were found alongside animal bones, and suggest that our ancestors journeyed into Asia hundreds of thousands of years earlier than thought.
Dr Zhaoyu Zhu at the Chinese Academy of Sciences found nearly 100 stone tools in the country of Shangchen, thought to have been made by primitive ‘hominins’ living between 1.3 and 2.1 million years ago.
Some of the tools have serrated edges, suggesting that they were smashed against other rocks multiple times.
Others show evidence of having been sharpened by their owners.
Professor Robin Dennell of Exeter University said, ‘Our discovery means it is necessary now to reconsider the timing of when early humans left Africa.
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The objects were found in layers of earth spanning nearly one million years, suggesting that early humans lived for a long time in the area.