Author Topic: how old are humans? - Underwater / buried cities, temples and buildings  (Read 51902 times)

electrobleme

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"Hunter Gatherers" only exist in our minds?
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2010, 00:23:21 »

"Hunter Gatherers" only exist in our minds?

The idea of the "Hunter Gatherer" seems only to exist because our earlier dating/knowledge says it had to and some chap came up with the idea. The dates for stuff like temples, buildings, cities, domestication of food and animals keeps getting pushed back further and further.

Did "Hunter Gatherer" ever exists as we think they did? Is it actually an insult to these amazing civilisations that existed before us?

This article below seems to show the same idea that our dates/knowledge/ideas can not be wrong and that more stuff has to be squeezed into ever more constricted timeframes. Why is it wrong to think that that humans are ancient, that man has been around for a very long time and so have civilisations?


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Earliest Corn Domestication

An astonishing discovery in the Rio Balsas region of Mexico has pushed the domestication of corn—or rather, American corn or maize—back to at least 7,000 BC. Maize (Zea mays—and decidedly not teosinte) starch granules and opal phytoliths from squash dated to more than 9,000 years ago have been found in a rockshelter in the Rio Balsas valley of Mexico, where teosinte is believed to have originated. The new findings were reported in the March 23 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team led by Dolores Piperno.

At a rockshelter site called Xihuatoxtla  in the state of Guerrero, five stratified layers contain occupational debris between 1000 and 9000 cal BP, or between about 7000 BC and AD 1000. Each of the layers contain millstones or hand stones and the majority of those stones—including the Archaic and Paleoindian layers—had either starch granules from domesticated maize and/or phytoliths from domesticated squash (cucurbits).

The squash and maize are on stone tools and in the sediment layers of even the lowest layer, which includes a Pedernales point base and another lanceolate point, clearly an Early Archaic or Paleoindian occupation. Before the discoveries at Xihuatoxtla shelter, the earliest maize was noted at Archaic period Guila Naquitz (5400 RCYBP) and Coxcatlan Cave (5960 BC).

What this all means

First of all, its important to note that the starch is from domesticated Zea mays, not the wild form of teosinte (Zea mays spp. parviglumis) thought to be its progenitor. Interestingly enough, teosinte is thought to be native to the Rio Balsas valley—so the Xihuatoxtla rockshelter could well be near the location of the first domestication of corn, which had to have taken place before 9,000 BP.

Further, the discovery of domestic corn and squash in Paleoindian/Early Archaic settings suggests that we need to seriously rethink our ideas of what a "typical" hunter-gatherer lifestyle is. The notion that hunter-gatherers only collect or at most tend to stands of crops is clearly no longer viable with this discovery.
Earliest Corn Domestication | archaeology.about.com


electrobleme

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an insult to their intelligence - double think or no think?
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2010, 12:44:51 »


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"These are people who had no real shelter -- no houses, not even caves, so we can only speculate that by the time they returned, they had developed physiologically to cope with the cold, as well as developing behavioural strategies such as planning winter stores and making good use of fire," says Dr Francis Wenban-Smith.
Neanderthals Walked Into Frozen Britain 40,000 Years Earlier Than First Thought, Evidence Shows


an insult to their intelligence and perhaps our own if archeaologists can double think like this ...





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A University of Southampton archaeologist and Oxford Archaeology have found evidence that Neanderthals were living in Britain at the start of the last ice age, 40,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Commissioned by Oxford Archaeology, the University of Southampton's Dr Francis Wenban-Smith discovered two ancient flint hand tools at the M25 / A2 road junction at Dartford in Kent, during an excavation funded by the Highways Agency. The flints are waste flakes from the manufacture of unknown tools, which would almost certainly have mostly been used for cutting up dead animals. Tests on sediment burying the flints show they date from around 100,000 years ago, proving Neanderthals were living in Britain at this time. The country was previously assumed to have been uninhabited during this period.

"I couldn't believe my eyes when I received the test results. We know that Neanderthals inhabited Northern France at this time, but this new evidence suggests that as soon as sea levels dropped, and a 'land bridge' appeared across the English Channel, they made the journey by foot to Kent," says Francis.

Early pre-Neanderthals inhabited Britain before the last ice age, but were forced south by a previous glaciation about 200,000 year ago. When the climate warmed up again between 130,000 and 110,000 years ago, they couldn't get back because, similar to today, the Channel sea-level was raised, blocking their path. This discovery shows they returned to our shores much earlier than 60,000 years ago, as previous evidence suggested.

"The fieldwork uncovered a significant amount of activity at the Dartford site in the Bronze Age and Roman periods, but it is deeper trenches excavated through much older sediments which have yielded the most interesting results -- shedding light on a long period when there was assumed to have been an absence of early man from Britain," comments Oxford Archaeology Project Manager David Score.

One theory is that Neanderthals may have been attracted back to Kent by the flint-rich chalk downs visible from France. These supported herds of mammoth, rhino, horse and deer -- an important source of food in sub-arctic conditions.

"These are people who had no real shelter -- no houses, not even caves, so we can only speculate that by the time they returned, they had developed physiologically to cope with the cold, as well as developing behavioural strategies such as planning winter stores and making good use of fire," says Dr Francis Wenban-Smith.

The last glacial period (or ice age) occurred between around 110,000 to 10,000 years ago, but this was interspersed with fluctuations when the climate temporarily warmed. It is unclear whether Neanderthal colonisation across North Western Europe and Britain was related to these minor fluctuations.. Dr Wenban-Smith believes more evidence is needed to date their occupations more accurately, to show how many were living in Kent at this time, how far they roamed into Britain and how long they stayed for. The Channel is also a critical area for further research, with the buried landscape between Boulogne and Newhaven -- provisionally christened "Boulognia" -- possibly containing the crucial evidence.

The excavation was carried out prior to construction work on the scheme by the Costain Group PLC. The archaeological investigations were designed by Jacobs Engineering U.K. Ltd, in consultation with Kent County Council. Other results from the project include the discovery of a woolly rhino tooth in the floodplain gravels of the River Darent, dated at around 40,000 years old.
Neanderthals Walked Into Frozen Britain 40,000 Years Earlier Than First Thought, Evidence Shows

electrobleme

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Pioneer Man
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2010, 18:08:38 »
Pioneer Man? Did humans keep leaving britain and coming back? 8 lots of Pioneer Man.

Also interesting is the River Thames information. The River Thames seems to have flowed through various parts of britain for at least a million years. Why has the River Thames changed course so many times and in so many different directions? Is the river path carved out by EDM during a catastrophe? Does it follow natural energy paths in the earth and these change after a catastrophe?

I had visited Happisburgh while they were digging and was told it was a dig but it was puzzling at the time because it was below the massive sand cliffs.

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Humans' early arrival in Britain

Researchers have discovered stone tools in Norfolk, UK, that suggest that early humans arrived in Britain nearly a million years ago - or even earlier.

The find, published in the journal Nature, pushes back the arrival of the first humans in what is now the UK by several hundred thousand years.

Environmental data suggests that temperatures were relatively cool.

This raises the possibility that these early Britons may have been among the first humans to use fire to keep warm.

They may also have been some of the earliest humans to wear fur clothing.

The discoveries were made in Happisburgh, in the north of Norfolk. At the time there was a land bridge connecting what is now southern Britain with continental Europe.

There are no early human remains, but the researchers speculate that the most likely species was Homo antecessor, more commonly - and possibly appropriately - known as "Pioneer Man".

Remains of the species have been found in the Atapuerca region of northern Spain, and dated to 0.8-1.2 million years ago. So the species could well have been in Britain at around that time, according to Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

"If the climate was good and the land bridge was there, there's no real reason they couldn't have come (to Britain) as far back as 1.2 million years ago," he told BBC News.

Pioneer Man was much like our own species in that it walked upright, used tools and was a hunter gatherer.

But physically the species looked rather different. It had a smaller brain, strong brow ridges and big teeth, with some primitive features such as a flat face and no prominent chin on the lower jaw.
'Real pioneers'

The discovery raises many new questions, such as how these creatures dealt with the cold winters that existed at the time. Scientists have also speculated that they may have used shelters and clothing.

It also raises the possibility that Britain was the first place where fire was used in a controlled way for warmth.

"Although we don't have the evidence for fire or of clothing to get through the winters up here, I think they must have had some extra adaptations," said Professor Stringer.

"I think the evidence suggests that they were living at the edge of the inhabited world in a really challenging environment and indeed they were real pioneers living here in Britain, nearly a million years ago," he said.

The research was led by Dr Nick Ashton of the British Museum, London, as part of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project.

"The discovery is immensely surprising because we are dealing with an incredibly early date," Dr Ashton said.

He added that the environmental data that indicated the relatively low temperatures was "even more surprising".

"It's unusual to find humans in such a cool climate this far north at this very early date," he said.

This area of Norfolk was quite a different place one million years ago.

"The [River] Thames was flowing through this area. And at the site we have sediments laid down by the Thames," he explained.

Pioneer man was eventually wiped out by an Ice Age. These occurred about every 100,000 years, and each time that happened Britain was depopulated.

As conditions became more benign, a new group of humans arrived.

There were at least eight different waves of people that came in and died out before the last wave, which is the one that survives today.

Humans' early arrival in Britain | bbc.co.uk



Norfolks sand is said to have come from glacial deposits but there are many strange things about East Anglia's sand and especially Norfolks cliffs. This will be explored further in the Norfolk gEUlogy section.


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Environmental history of quartz sand grains from the Lower and Middle Pleistocene of Norfolk, England
DAVID HENRY KRINSLEY & BRIAN MICHAEL FUNNELL

Criteria aresuggested for the distinction of glacial, glacio-fluvial, dune, beach, and deeper-water or estuarine environments on the basis of electron-microscopic examination of surface textures of quartz sand grains. In favourable circumstances a sequence of events representing a succession of environments may be recorded on a single sand grain or group of grains. Textures resulting from chemical action are also recognized.

Application of the technique to the Lower and Middle Pleistocene (Norwich Crag to North Sea Drift) deposits of Norfolk, England, has confirmed the origin of deposits previously interpreted on the basis of their contained faunas and general sedimentary characteristics, and has provided new evidence on the origin of others. On the basis of these studies it is concluded that the Norwich Crag is of littoral and sublittoral origin with occasional incorporation of dune sand, that the quartz–quartzite–flint gravels of the upper part of the Norwich Crag Series s.l., the Weybourne Crag, and the Estuarine Bed of the Cromer Forest Bed Series each show initial glacial and sometimes glacio-fluvial action, followed by turbulent (beach) or less turbulent (estuarine or deeper-water) action, and that the Norwich Brickearth and Cromer Till both appear to have incorporated large quantities of mainly marine sand into relatively stoneless till, probably near the margins of an ice-sheet.

Environmental history of quartz sand grains from the Lower and Middle Pleistocene of Norfolk, England | jgslegacy.lyellcollection.org

« Last Edit: July 08, 2010, 19:03:52 by electrobleme »

electrobleme

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simple Hunter Gatherers - everything historical we are taught is a lie?

simple Hunter Gatherers? everything seems to show that no matter how old civilisations were they were advanced in either social skills, knowledge of the natural laws/energy of the world. is it only modern society who are not advanced enough to see or believe the evidence that there were advanced races all over the world, for who knows how long they have been walking and building on this planet.


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Amazonian Indians More Advanced Than We Knew

For decades, archaeologists thought of the Amazonian Indians as lowly hunter-gatherers who inhabited widely scattered villages and barely eked out a living in the harsh landscape.

Now that image is collapsing. In a study to be published later this summer, scientists detail an ancient system of monumental public works in a swath of the Amazon in eastern Bolivia. The researchers relied in part on satellite pictures to penetrate the thick jungle, allowing them to inventory vast earthen mounds 25 to 30 feet high and tidy networks of canals and causeways, all built centuries ago.

The sheer volume of dirt that had to be moved to build these structures suggests that the area was densely populated and politically organized, the researchers say. And the neat patterns of mounds, canals and other features on the landscape indicate that the infrastructure was highly planned and well-organized -- not exactly the handiwork of villagers leading a hand-to-mouth existence.

The scientists documented nearly 600 miles of canals and causeways, which altogether required moving enough earth to fill the Great Pyramid at Giza twice. But it's the mounds that are especially impressive. The biggest of the mounds -- earthen hills topped by pyramid-like structures and often at the center of a network of canals and causeways -- are higher than six-story buildings, and the average mound covered 50 percent more area than a football field.

"They are amazing," says Umberto Lombardo of the University of Bern, one of the authors of the new study, which will be published in the August edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science. "You get to this mound and start going up and up and up. ... You feel like you are in the mountains, the Alps."

The inhabitants of the Amazon who built the mounds had no metal tools, no pack animals, not even the wheel, yet they erected structures that would be "huge work" to build even today, Lombardo says.

Scientists had known that these structures existed, but this is the first time that anyone has systematically counted and mapped them, says Clark Erickson of the University of Pennsylvania, who studies the same area of the Amazon.

By studying how the earthworks are distributed and connected, archaeologists will be able to deduce something about the political structure and perhaps the economies of these long-ago communities.

It's clear from the density and scale of the structures that their builders were more politically and socially sophisticated than the old stereotype, Erickson says.

"There's a certain amount of aesthetics and pride here," he says. "These people ... expressed pride in the community in mounds that towered over the landscape."

The function of the mounds is still uncertain. People lived on them, but they also had ritual or political importance. Perhaps they held dance platforms or ball courts. Most of the structures were in continual use from around 500 to 1400 A.D., says study co-author Heiko Pruemers of the German Archaeological Institute. The first Europeans arrived in the area in the 1600s.

Pruemers has done excavations at two of the mounds and discovered pottery, animal bones left over from meals, even human skeletons in cemetery-like areas. He's eager to find out more.

"We're just getting started," he says.
Amazonian Indians More Advanced Than We Knew | aolnews.com

electrobleme

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Marden Henge and layer of clay - ceremonial or catastrophe?
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2010, 18:33:18 »

Marden Henge and layer of clay - ceremonial or catastrophe?

again mainstream or education interpretation of what old buildings and sites were for, what they did and why things were there or not there appears to be wrong. but that does not change the original ideas behind what the buildings are for because that cant be wrong. For example were the temples of Malta temples or were they something else? perhaps Malta's temples were designed and built to use the natural energy of an Electric Universe?

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"A completely artificial division has been made in the past between domestic and religious, recreation and ritual," Leary said. "We're going to have to rethink all that. It's not one thing or the other, it's everything mixed in together."
Was Marden Henge the builder's yard for Stonehenge? | guardian.co.uk

why did this site suddenly stop being used? was it because stonehenge was built and finished? why did no one else ever use the site again. is this explanation sensible or did something else happen?

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All traces of the feast – the pig bones, the ashes and the burnt stones from the barbecue that cooked them, the broken pots and bowls – were swept neatly into a dump to one side. A few precious offerings, including an exquisitely worked flint arrowhead, were carefully laid on the clean chalk. Then they covered the whole surface with a thin layer of clay, stamped it flat, and left. Forever.
Was Marden Henge the builder's yard for Stonehenge? | guardian.co.uk

perhaps it was some sort of ceremonial thing to mark the end of the building work or maybe it was something else? was the layer of clay related to the sudden layers of soil and material that sometimes seem to appear around the world (dark earth, red soil in the med etc) ? maybe related to a catastrophe that struck the land and made the stonehenge builders disappear.

what is very common with all old buildings that we call temples is that they are found buried and covered over. even some of the most massive "temples" were covered in material. has the earth covered them over time with that amount of material? did those who built them suddenly cover them up with all the labour involved, did people after them do it or was there some event/catastrophe that created the material or dumped it on them?



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Was Marden Henge the builder's yard for Stonehenge?

Stone tools, flakes and the remains of a final feast at the site in Wiltshire hint that the huge sarsens that now stand at Stonehenge were brought to Marden Henge first

The last revellers seem to have cleared up scrupulously after the final party at Marden Henge some 4,500 years ago.

They scoured the rectangular building and the smart white chalk platform on top of the earth bank, with its spectacular view towards the river Avon in one direction, and the hills from which the giant sarsen stones were brought to Stonehenge in the other.

All traces of the feast – the pig bones, the ashes and the burnt stones from the barbecue that cooked them, the broken pots and bowls – were swept neatly into a dump to one side. A few precious offerings, including an exquisitely worked flint arrowhead, were carefully laid on the clean chalk. Then they covered the whole surface with a thin layer of clay, stamped it flat, and left. Forever.

In the past fortnight, English Heritage archaeologists have peeled back the thin layer of turf covering the site, which has somehow escaped being ploughed for more than 4,000 years. They were astounded to find the undisturbed original surface just as the prehistoric Britons left it.

"We're gobsmacked really," said site director Jim Leary.

Giles Woodhouse, a volunteer digger who must return next week to his day job as a lieutenant colonel in the army bound for Germany and then Afghanistan, has been crouched over the rubbish dump day after day, his black labrador Padma sighing at his side. He has been teasing the soil away from bone, stone and pottery so perfectly preserved it could have been buried last year.

"It gives one a bit of a shiver down the backbone to realise the last man to touch these died 4,500 years ago," he said. His finds, still emerging from the soil, will rewrite the history of the site.

Marden in Wiltshire has been puzzling archaeologists for centuries. It is set almost exactly half way between two of the most famous and tourist-choked sites in Britain, Stonehenge and Avebury, but it is far larger than either. The ragged oval of outer earth banks at Marden, completed by a bend of the Avon, enclose more than 14 hectares, compared with 11.5 hectares at Avebury, where the banks surround an entire modern village.

Famously – to its comparatively few devotees and visitors, that is – it is the biggest henge in Britain that isn't there, surrounding one of the biggest artificial hills in Britain, which isn't there either.

This is the first excavation since Geoffrey Wainwright, former chief archaeologist at English Heritage, explored one small corner of the site in 1969. What stunned the archaeologists when they started work three weeks ago was just how much is left.

Once your eye is in you can see it: the sweep of the ditches, the belt of trees hiding some of the earth bank, which still rises to three metres in some places, the stain in the grass marking the lost barrow and its massive surrounding moat, and the wholly unexpected discovery – the second, smaller henge, so close to the modern houses that the roots of two trees at the foot of a back garden are actually growing into its bank.

The neolithic buildings were not where others have looked for them, on the level in the centre of the henges, but on top of the bank.

"We've all been looking in the wrong place," Leary said, "there will have to be a major rethink about other henges. And it's actually almost terrifying how close to the surface the finds were – there's also going to have to be a major review of our management plans for other sites."

The only known image of Hatfield Barrow – an early 18th century map in the archives of the landowner, Corpus Christi College in Oxford – shows the artificial hill as a jaunty little sandcastle sporting a cockade of trees. It once rose to a height of almost 15 metres, half the height of Silbury near Avebury.

The two antiquarians who burrowed like rabbits through scores of Wiltshire earthworks in the early 19th century, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and William Cunnington, punched a massive shaft through Hatfield Barrow in 1807. Their scrappy records torment the modern archaeologists, including references to animal bones, burned wood, and "two small parcels of burned human bones".

They left the shaft open, possibly intending to return in another season, and the mound collapsed. This is a phenomenon Leary knows well, having led the rescue excavation before the engineering works to stabilise Silbury, which was also left riddled with slowly collapsing holes by Georgian and later diggers.

The farmer at Marden filled in the moat, which an 18th century naturalist recorded as fed by a natural spring and never dry even in the hottest summer, and sold the collapsed hillock as top soil. Leary's massive trench has uncovered barely a trace of hill or moat.

If the hill disappointed, the excavations at one of the original entrances and at the small henge certainly do not. They are revealing what appears to be a broad gravelled ceremonial road leading towards the river. Discovering undisturbed neolithic surfaces and building platforms on this scale counts as a discovery of international importance.

There is no evidence of permanent occupation of the dwellings or the site as a whole. As in the work led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson at Durrington Walls, 20 miles away (he couldn't resist coming over to help dig, and some of his former students had the pleasure of giving him orders) the implication is of people gathering for seasonal rituals and feasting, and maybe a work camp.

"A completely artificial division has been made in the past between domestic and religious, recreation and ritual," Leary said. "We're going to have to rethink all that. It's not one thing or the other, it's everything mixed in together."

If it wasn't a village, or a temple, or a farm, or a cemetery, what was Marden for? Leary suspects the answer may be emerging in stone working tools, and flakes of sarsen, turning up all over the site. If you were going to drag sarsens the size of double decker buses from their original site to Stonehenge, he said, the obvious route is straight through a natural gap in the hilly landscape, which would take them through Marden.

The evidence that Marden was a sort of builder's yard for the most famous prehistoric monument in the world may have been in the mud under the boots of Leary's puzzled predecessors.

So why did the site's temporary occupants leave? Maybe with Stonehenge complete, the sarsens shaped into the giant trilithons that still fill the hordes of modern visitors with awe, their job was done. They tidied up nicely, turned out the lights, and left.

Was Marden Henge the builder's yard for Stonehenge? | guardian.co.uk
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 19:08:24 by electrobleme »

electrobleme

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evidence is in the eye of the beholder
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2010, 00:47:51 »


evidence is in the eye of the beholder

the dating of these events is certain even though in the same paragraph they mention the many magnetic reversals of the earth.

that the rocks were from an area 6km away yet they make them sound like the monkeys we supposedly evolved from. yet they moved from out of the forests into the grasslands. how do they know that or is it because that is what we think of them?

even if you accept the dating of these stone tools you have to accept that the theories that predicted everything are very wrong indeed. everything they find is a surprise and totally changes the accepted theories. but those original base theories are never discarded. we keep plodding along with hunter gatherers and retarded previous makes of human beings. yet everything seems to show us the opposite.



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Butchering dinner 3.4 million years ago

Slashed animal bones suggest early hominins were chopping up predator kills earlier than we thought.

Early hominins were using stone tools to butcher meat as long ago as 3.4 million years, about 800,000 years earlier than previous evidence dates to, scientists report in this week's issue of Nature.1

The finding comes from an examination of animal bones found last year in the Lower Awash Valley of Ethiopia. This site is not far from the spot where the same research team, led by palaeoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged of the California Academy of Science, San Francisco, had previously discovered a 3.3-million-year-old juvenile Australopithecus afarensis fossil dubbed 'Lucy's Baby'. That find is one of the most complete skeletons of an ancient human ancestor to be discovered so far.

The animal bones — one from an impala-sized creature, the other from one closer in size to a buffalo — bear cut marks that indicate butchering, says their finder, Shannon McPherron, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a member of Alemseged's team.

This, he says, means that early hominins — presumably Australopithecus afarensis — were not only using tools, but also venturing out of the safety of the forests and onto the plains in search of meat.

However, they probably weren't hunting, McPherron says; it is more likely that they were scavenging predator kills. Still, the search for large-animal meat is an important step in human development. "We've put this important, fundamental behaviour back into Lucy's time," says McPherron, who is lead author of the new study.

The same is true for tool usage. Previously, the earliest known date for tool usage was about 2.5 million years ago — right about the time that humanity's own genus, Homo, was first emerging. Now, it seems that tool usage pre-dates our genus. "We're pushing much deeper into our evolutionary past," McPherron says.


Different for chimps

It's an important find, says David Braun, a Palaeolithic archaeologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, because our closest living relatives don't engage in such behaviours. "Chimpanzees do not recognize large animals or carcasses killed by other animals as food," he says. "At some point, hominins did."

Proving the discovery was a two-step process, involving both dating the bones and verifying that the marks on them were inflicted by stone tools rather than by trampling, teeth or post-fossilization damage.

To do that, the team examined the bones both chemically and under a microscope. The chemical tests confirmed that the damage had occurred before the bones were fossilized; the microscopic examination confirmed that it was the result of cutting.

"The results are very clear," McPherron says.

Some of the cuts are V-shaped in cross section, for instance — a shape characteristic of those made by sharp tools — with scratches inside the cuts left by the tool's rough edge. Other marks showed signs of scraping, and still others indicated that the bones had been bashed with blunt rocks — perhaps in an effort to reach the marrow.

Paul Renne directs the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California, and has worked on studies of some of the oldest known cut-marked bones found previously. "It sure looks convincing to me," he says of the new find.

As for dating, McPherron says the scientists were lucky, because the fossils came from a gully cutting through strata that had been well studied in conjunction with other finds, such as Lucy's Baby, which was discovered only a few hundred metres away. In particular, radioisotope studies had dated two important strata, one at the highest levels in the gully and the other near the bottom. On the basis of these, the scientists knew that the bones could be no more than 3.42 million and no less than 3.24 million years old.

The pattern of magnetic field reversals — which occur at intervals in Earth's history — in the intervening sediments, and estimates of sedimentation rates, further refined the estimate. "The best estimate is 3.39 million years," McPherron says.

Renne concurs. "I think they have a really good case for 3.2 to 3.4 million years ago," he says. Within that range, he adds, the precise date isn't critical. "The fact that they're older than 3 million is pretty exciting."


Convenient rocks

However, the discovery doesn't mean that early hominins made tools. They may simply have used convenient rocks for tasks such as butchering. But their efforts still required planning because the nearest source of suitable rocks was about 6 kilometres away from where the bones were found.

Renne and Braun are pleased but not startled. "We were hoping there would be older stuff [than my own findings]," Renne says.

Braun adds that the earliest known tools, dating to about 2.5 million years ago, are very well made, which has prompted scientists to wonder whether our ancestors had somehow instantaneously discovered how to make them, or whether older, cruder tools remain to be found.

"I think many palaeoanthropologists will start looking in this window between 3.2 and 2.5 million years ago for what may be the origins of stone tool production," he says.

McPherron suggests that the best way to do this might be to go to outcrops that could once have been quarry sites. "If we're going to find evidence of tool manufacture in this time period, we're probably going to have to go to where the stones are and look there," he says.
Butchering dinner 3.4 million years ago | nature.com


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Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia

he oldest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture comes from Gona (Ethiopia) and dates to between 2.6 and 2.5 million years (Myr) ago1. At the nearby Bouri site several cut-marked bones also show stone tool use approximately 2.5?Myr ago2. Here we report stone-tool-inflicted marks on bones found during recent survey work in Dikika, Ethiopia, a research area close to Gona and Bouri. On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access. The bones derive from the Sidi Hakoma Member of the Hadar Formation. Established 40Ar–39Ar dates on the tuffs that bracket this member constrain the finds to between 3.42 and 3.24?Myr ago, and stratigraphic scaling between these units and other geological evidence indicate that they are older than 3.39?Myr ago. Our discovery extends by approximately 800,000 years the antiquity of stone tools and of stone-tool-assisted consumption of ungulates by hominins; furthermore, this behaviour can now be attributed to Australopithecus afarensis.
Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia | nature.com


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Saudis 'find evidence of early horse domestication'
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2011, 22:42:38 »


Saudis 'find evidence of early horse domestication'

Saudi officials say archaeologists have begun excavating a site that suggests horses were domesticated 9,000 years ago in the Arabian Peninsula.

The vice-president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities said the discovery at al-Maqar challenged the theory it first took place 5,500 years ago in Central Asia.

Ali al-Ghabban said it also changed what was known about the evolution of culture in the late Neolithic period.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14658678