Archaeologists in Jordan discover earliest stone tools

Team of archaeologists from University of Victoria made a discovery of sophisticated stone tools crafted 250000 years ago in a former oasis near Azraq in Jordan. Analysis of the blades found residual remains of butchered animals including horse, rhinoceros, wild cattle and duck. The discovery reveals that early humans were able to produce tools thousands of years before Homo sapiens first evolved in Africa.

Archaeologists at work at the site (by Popular Archaeology)
Archaeologists at work at the site (by Popular Archaeology)

Over 10000 stone tools were excavated by the expedition in a desert in Noth-West Jordan, of which 44 were selected for testing. Residue analysis of 17 were tested positive for protein, including blood and other animal products. This is the first time there is direct evidence of exploitation by our Stone Age ancestors of specific animals for subsistence.

Axe with traces of horse residue (by Popular Archaeology)
Axe with traces of horse residue (by Popular Archaeology)
Blade with traces of rhino residue (by PhysOrg)
Blade with traces of rhino residue (by PhysOrg)

The potential of this discovery can also reshape what scientists think about early hominin diets. The tools tell about complex strategies for survival, such as the highly variable techniques for prey exploitation, as well as predator avoidance and protection of carcasses for food. This significantly diverges from what was expected from this extinct species.

Archaeologists at work at the site (by Popular Archaeology)
Archaeologists at work at the site (by Popular Archaeology)

(after Popular Archaeology & PhysOrg)

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