Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Tools discovered in China hint earlier humanity outside Africa

Tools discovered in China hint earlier humanity outside Africa

Researchers based at the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences dated about 100 stone tools based on known flips of the earth's magnetic field, which leave chemical changes in magnetic materials trapped inside rocks.

Considering that the earliest evidence of Homo erectus in Africa dates back to 1.8 million years ago, a few hundred years after the Shangchen artifacts were left behind in China, this key human ancestor "may have evolved in Eurasia and migrated to Africa", says geoarchaeologist Reid Ferring of the University of North Texas in Denton, who dated the Dmanisi site.

Hominins, which may have originated in Africa up to 6 million years ago, include all the species that emerged after the human lineage, or the Homo genus, split from that of chimpanzees.

"Our discovery means it is necessary now to reconsider the timing of when early humans left Africa", said study co-author Professor Robin Dennell. Fragments of animal bones 2.12 million years old were also found. The hammer stones, for instance, had been intentionally flaked.

The remains of crudely fashioned stone tools unearthed in China advances the presence of human ancestors in Asia by around 200 millennia to 2.1 million years ago, scientists said Wednesday.

The age of the Chinese tools "suggests that the hominins who made them were neither tall nor big-brained". Majority were made of quartz and quartzite that are believed to have come from the nearby Qinling Mountains.

The 96 artifacts were dug up in an area known as the Loess Plateau, north of the Qinling mountains, which divide the north and south of China.

Bones of pigs and deer were discovered at the site but the scientists could not prove definitively that the tools were used for hunting.

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The archaeologists found eighty stone artifacts.

Dennell and a team measured the magnetic properties of minerals in the soil layers to determine when they were deposited.

They also found sixteen items in six layers of loess.

These seventeen layers of fossil soils and loess developed over a period spanning almost 1,000,000 years.

The researchers know that they will need to continue their study and find out the route the primitive humans took and at what speed they traveled to get to Asia.

"Our discovery means it is necessary now to reconsider the timing of when early humans left Africa", said Professor Robin Dennell from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, who was involved in the study.

These early hominins eventually moved out of Africa into unknown territories, to eventually populate the planet, Kappelman noted in a commentary that accompanied the study.

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