Published: Sat, February 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Stone tools yield cultural complexities discovered in India

Stone tools yield cultural complexities discovered in India

They were fashioned from 385,000 years ago to 172,000 years ago, showing evidence of continuity and development over that time.

In schools we were taught that homo sapiens evolved from Africa and modern humans came to India after dispersing from East Africa around 125,000 years ago or later. These early humans had a lot in common with Homo sapiens, such as walking upright and having the ability to craft tools, but they differed in some subtle ways, such as differently sized skulls, prominent brow ridges and shorter statures (except the Neanderthals, which, like our own species, had an average height of 160cm).

A recent discovery of a jawbone fossil in Israel reported last week suggested humans left Africa as early as about 180,000 years ago.

"We place these early Middle Paleolithic (Stone Age) cultures far earlier than what was estimated in India". They were tired of utilizing the large axes and other powerful cutting tools that were being manufactured by their ancestors for millions of years, gave way to a new sophisticated kind of tools that could be effective as well as handy.

In a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, researchers said that they have unearthed over 7,000 stone tools, including advanced sophisticated blades, points and scrapers.

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Shanti Pappu, an archaeologist and co-author of the study, said that the findings could have many implications. Their paper says that emergence of such tools earlier in the day could mean that either we need to re-evaluate when humans exited Africa, or re-evaluate the dependency of the development of MP tools on human migrations.

A second theory projects that the rearmost ordinary ancestor of Neanderthals and H. sapiens devised this new age tool and passed onto the descendant species.

Stone tools found by Indian scientists. We do this, not merely by picking and choosing tools (e.g. handaxes or Levallois technologies) but by a holistic look at the entire assemblage and its differences from the preceding Acheulian culture.

The new study, led by Kumar Akhilesh and Shanti Pappu from Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, provides new evidence in the form of ancient stone tools excavated from the Attirampakkam archaeological site in southern India. "The Middle Palaeolithic culture is thought to have originated in Africa". The study suggests that Middle Palaeolithic culture in India began long before modern human migrations out of Africa. But it just so happens that Middle Palaeolithic culture appeared at roughly the same time in Africa, Europe and South Asia, a development that suggests archaic humans did in fact interact with each other during the course of these timescales. The luminescence method is well established, but it would be good to see other dating techniques used to corroborate these findings.

According to researchers, the tools tools collectively show a shift away from Acheulian technologies towards Middle Palaeolithic strategies. It seems people in Africa, Europe and Asia all invented the same kind of tools around 280,000 years ago.

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