Stone tools used by earliest 'butchers'
San Francisco (UPI) Aug 11, 2010
Researchers say evidence from Africa shows humans were using tools to butcher meat from large animals millions of years earlier than previously thought.
Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences found fossilized bones in Ethiopia from around 3.4 million years ago bearing evidence of stone tool cut marks made while carving meat off them, an academy release said Wednesday.
The bones are the first evidence that Australopithecus afarensis, early humans, used stone tools and consumed meat.
"This discovery dramatically shifts the known time frame of a game-changing behavior for our ancestors," Zeresenay Alemseged, curator of anthropology at the academy, said.
"This find will definitely force us to revise our text books on human evolution, since it pushes the evidence for tool use and meat eating in our family back by nearly a million years.
"Tool use fundamentally altered the way our early ancestors interacted with nature, allowing them to eat new types of food and exploit new territories," he said.
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