A team of archaeologists have recently discovered the oldest stone tool that dates back 1.2 million years ago. The recent discovery has made scientists reconsider how ancestors of humans first arrived to Europe from Africa and Asia.
The 1.2-million-old stone tool is a quartzite flake unearthed in an ancient site in Anatolia, Turkey, on the Gediz river. The tool is very important for establishing the route and timing of early humans when they started to come to Europe.
The team of researchers is made of archaeologists from the Netherlands, Turkey and UK and the findings were published in a study in the Quaternary Science Reviews. The 1.2-million-old stone tool is the oldest tool discovered in Turkey and reveals that human ancestors passed through the gateway approximately 1 million years ago. Previously, scientists believed this happened much later.
In order to date the ancient stone tool, the team of researchers used palaeomagnetic measurements and radioisotopic dating taken from the lava flows of the site where the discovery was made. One of the scientists who were in charge is Danielle Schreve from the Department of Geography at the Royal Holloway University of London. The scientists were able to determine the timeframe when the human ancestors occupied the area. The results suggested that the area started being populated somewhere between 1.24 million and 1.17 million years ago.
The researchers wrote in their study that this is the earliest record of human occupation in Anatolia, Turkey.
The earliest human remains that have been discovered in Europe consist of bone fragments from one of the earliest human ancestors, Homo antecessor. The remains were discovered in Atapuerca, Spain and are approximately 1.2 million years old. The discovery of the 1.2-million-old stone tool suggests that a different human species also migrated to Europe at about the same time.
The researchers noted that the artifact is a pinkish and sharp stone tool, which was referred to as “humanly struck”. They believe the tool was dropped by an ancient human on the flood plain more than a million years ago. Based on the age of the discovery, the archaeologists believe the maker of the tool was probably a Homo erectus.
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