An international team of paleontologists and anthropologists presented the first chronological examination of the Acheulean tool making industry in Konso Formation in southern Ethiopia and in Kokiselei, west of Lake Turkana, Kenya in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Jan. 28, 2013.
Tool making began in both regions about 1.75 million years ago. Progressive improvements in tool making technique and sophistication parallel each other at both sites.
Large, thick tools dominated the early Acheulean, while thin and symmetric tools appeared about 1 million years ago, suggesting a renewed period of technological and behavioral innovation. The stone work for hand axes demonstrates more sophistication and a higher level of development that is attributed to the need for early human ancestors to prepare animal carcasses for cooking as well as being of additional assistance in hunting. Hand ax development also assisted early hominids in wood working and potentially foraging for vegetable food sources.
The development of similar tool making strategies in two separate communities that show no apparent signs of communication or interbreeding indicate that species like Homo erectus and earlier hominids had developed the cognitive skills needed for planning on a industrial scale as well as a highly sophisticated ability to predict the development of a specific tool from the shape of a stone selected for a specific purpose.
Yonas Beyene a,b, Shigehiro Katoh c, Giday WoldeGabriel d, William K. Hart e, Kozo Uto f, Masafumi Sudo g, Megumi Kondo h, Masayuki Hyodo i, Paul R. Renne j,k, Gen Suwa l,1, and Berhane Asfaw m,1
a Association for Research and Conservation of Culture (A.R.C.C.), Awassa, Ethiopia; b French Center for Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; c Division of Natural History, Hyogo Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Yayoigaoka 6, Sanda 669-1546, Japan; d EES-6/D462, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; e Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056; f National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba 305-8567, Japan; g Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam, 14476 Golm, Germany; h Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Ochanomizu University, Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8610, Japan; i Research Center for Inland Seas, Kobe University, Kobe 657-8501, Japan; j Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkeley, CA 94709; k Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; l University Museum, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan; and m Rift Valley Research Service, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia