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Algeria: A new discovery makes us rewrite the history of mankind

Credits : M. Sahnouni and al., 2018

A team of anthropologists have announced a discovery of flint cut tools dating back 2.4 million years in Algeria.  This incredible discovery make us rewrite the history of mankind. 

A team of researchers have outlined their discovery of flint and limestone cut tools found in Setif, 300 km east of Alger.  These tools, made around 2.4 million years ago, look exactly like those previously found in East Africa.  Their discovery could therefore call into question the previous perception that this region was the “cradle of humankind”. Details of the study can be found in the Science journal.

The whole of Africa was the cradle of humankind

Near to the discovery of tools, there were also dozens of fossilized animal bones (crocodiles, and even giraffes). The site could have possibly been a very old butcher shop. The discover also implies that humans evolved over the entire African continent, and not only in East Africa as suggested by conventional thinking.

The evidence found in Algeria has changed [our] earlier view that East Africa [is] the cradle of humanity,” said Mohamed Sahnouni, archaeologist at the National Centre for Research on Evolution in Spain, and the main author of the study. In reality, all of Africa was the cradle of humanity.

Credits : M. Sahnouni et al., 2018

Two possible scenarios

Two possible hypothesis could explain these premature activities.  The oldest stone cut tools date back to around 2.6 million years ago were found in Kouna in Ethiopia.  However it would be easy to imagine that  tool making skills were quickly exported from East Africa to the north of the African continent.  The second possible hypothesis is that the same techniques were created and perfected in the two places at the same time, both in the north and east of the continent.

In North Africa 600, 000 years earlier

However this discover has given evidence that human ancestors were living in North Africa much earlier, at least 600, 000 years earlier, than anthropologists previously thought.  The oldest tools from North Africa date before this period, around 1.8 million years ago.  However a mystery still exists regarding the species using these tools.  Tools and animal remains may have been discovered on this site but no human bone has been discovered yet.

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