Copy Link
Add to Bookmark

The tool that dates back the appearance of man by 85 thousand years

A stone spearhead discovered in the Gademotta Formation, Ethiopia, predates the appearance of man by 85,000 years. Scientists have hypothesized that the tool may have been made by Homo Heidelbergensis, what anthropologists believe to be a species predating Homo Sapiens. But there is a possibility that the weapon was created directly by Sapiens, which would make our species much older.

The tool that dates back the appearance of man by 85 thousand years
Pin it

Some stone-tipped spears discovered in 2013 at the Stone Age site of Gademotta, Ethiopia could cause a real earthquake in the timeline of the evolution of the human species. The tool, discovered in the Ethiopian part of the Rift Valley, precedes the appearance of the first tools attributed to Sapiens by 85 thousand years.

This could make modern man much older than previously believed. However, there is also the possibility that a species before Homo Sapiens was capable of producing sophisticated weapons for hunting.

Scientists estimated that the tools date back to about 280,000 years ago.

As reported in the article published in the scientific journal Plos ONE (, the researchers explain that the spearheads were made from obsidian, a natural volcanic glass known for its high strength and hardness.

"It is a significant data because it provides direct evidence of the ability to produce a complex technology by a species prior to the appearance of Homo Sapiens," write the authors of the research.

Scholars believe that it may be the direct ancestor of Homo Sapiens in Africa and the Neanderthals of Europe and Asia, what researchers identify with the name Homo Heidelbergensis, a hominid about whom very little is still known.

The tool that dates back the appearance of man by 85 thousand years
Pin it

Previous findings have shown that Heidelberg Homo was capable of producing sophisticated tools for hunting and slaughtering animals, but the discovery of spears provides a better understanding of the complexity of these hominids' skills.

The study also suggests that Gademotta was inhabited by types of hominids in this period, allowing for a greater spread of innovative ideas.

Certainly the discovery considerably complicates the family tree of our species, also because no human remains have been found that can help identify who made these highly sophisticated instruments and if this really pushes the date of the appearance of the modern human being.

Some archaeologists believe these are tools made by Homo Sapiens, while others think our ancestors may have had the mental capacity and manual dexterity to create technologically advanced drill bits.

However, regardless of who made the tools, some experts say the discovery helps fill a key gap in the archaeological record.

“The new dating helps us understand the timing of an important behavioral change in human evolution,” explains Christian Tryon, professor of anthropology at New York University, not involved in the study.

The Gademotta site

The Gademotta Formation, in the Ethiopian part of the Rift Valley, was discovered in 1970 and is known for its several sites dating back to the Middle Stone Age. It was a site decidedly favorable to human settlements, thanks to the proximity of the fresh water of Lake Ziway and the great availability of the volcanic glass known as obsidian.

The tool that dates back the appearance of man by 85 thousand years
Pin it

Compared to other parts of the world, archaeologists have observed a leap of about 300 thousand years in tool production technology, moving from the large and crude stone axes of the so-called Acheulean period, to the delicate and diverse blades of the Middle Stone Age.

In other places in Ethiopia, such as Herto in the Afar region north of Gademotta, the transition occurred much later, around 160,000 years ago, according to argon dating. This discrepancy supports the idea of ​​a gradual transition of technology.

An analogy with the modern world could be found with the transition from the ox cart to the automobile, a transition that is practically complete in North America and Northern Europe, but which is still underway in developing countries.

← previous
next →
sending ...
New to Neperos ? Sign Up for free
download Neperos App from Google Play
install Neperos as PWA

Let's discover also

Recent Articles

Recent Comments

Neperos cookies
This website uses cookies to store your preferences and improve the service. Cookies authorization will allow me and / or my partners to process personal data such as browsing behaviour.

By pressing OK you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge the Privacy Policy

By pressing REJECT you will be able to continue to use Neperos (like read articles or write comments) but some important cookies will not be set. This may affect certain features and functions of the platform.