miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2016

Asian stone tools hint humans left Africa earlier than thought

1/2. Handy tool. A. Dambricourt Malassé

The first early humans to leave Africa did so half a million years earlier than we thought, according to an analysis of simple stone tools and three cow bones with cut marks found in Asia. But not everyone is convinced yet.

A joint Indian-French team found the artefacts on the Siwalik hills about 300 kilometres north of New Delhi, India, where tectonic activity has exposed an outcrop of bedrock dating back at least 2.6 million years.

The bones and tools were found lying on the surface, which made their dating tricky. But given that artefacts are rare in the younger rocks surrounding the outcrop, and the latest finds were preserved in the same way as those previously uncovered in the ancient bedrock, they probably eroded out of the bedrock on which they sit, the team says.

“There is no doubt regarding their origin,” says Mukesh Singh of the Society for Archaeological and Anthropological Research in India, who co-led the team that scoured the area for signs of ancient human activity between 2003 and 2015.

The team’s examination of the cut marks on bones (shown above) suggests that they were made with a stone tool. “We are absolutely confident,” says Singh. “Hominins lived in sub-Himalayan floodplains 2.6 million years ago.” [...] New Scientist

Link 2:  Primeras noticias del año: va de líticos – Nutcracker Man  / (Vía B&W3)
...  Recién iniciado el mes, leemos la publicación de un conjunto de líticos muy simples asociados a huesos de vaca con marcas, hallados en las colinas Siwalik. Lo que destaca en este caso es su antigüedad: 2,6 millones de años que, en caso de confirmarse, sería la evidencia más antigua de presencia de Homo en Asia: 800.000 años anterior al yacimiento de Homo erectus en Dmanisi (Georgia), y 300.000 años anterior a los posibles fósiles identificados como homínidos encontrados en la cueva Longgupo (China) asociados a dientes de mamíferos y artefactos líticos...