Oldest known stone tools found in Kenya; makers not known

Researchers Sonia Harmand, left, and Jason Lewis hold stone tools found in the West Turkana area of Kenya. The artifacts, dated at 3.3 million years old, are much older than the earliest known trace of our branch of the evolutionary family tree. (AP via MPK-WTAP)
Researchers Sonia Harmand, left, and Jason Lewis hold stone tools found in the West Turkana area of Kenya. The artifacts, dated at 3.3 million years old, are much older than the earliest known trace of our branch of the evolutionary family tree. (AP via MPK-WTAP)

NEW YORK (AP) – Scientists say they’ve found the oldest stone tools ever discovered, pushing back the history of tool-making by about 700,000 years.

The artifacts, found in Kenya, are 3.3 million years old. They are much older than the earliest known trace of our own branch of the evolutionary family tree. So it’s a new challenge to the traditional idea that only members of our branch made stone tools.

Such tools were made by striking stones to knock off sharp-edged flakes, which could be used for cutting. But so far, nobody knows who made the Kenyan tools, or what they were used for.

The discovery was reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

This undated photo made available by the Mission Prehistorique au Kenya - West Turkana Archaeological Project shows the excavation of a stone tool found in the West Turkana Area of Kenya. This and other artifacts were dated at 3.3 million years old. The discovery was reported Wednesday, May 20, in the journal Nature. (AP via MPK-WTAP)

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