NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 5 - University of Southern Connecticut scientists say they've found the earliest direct evidence of stone tool manufacture and use in a controlled setting.
Michael Rogers, an assistant professor of anthropology at the school, and his research team date the tools they found at Gona, Ethiopia, to 2.6 million years.
Three years ago, Rogers was in Ethiopia working on a paleoanthropological research project in Gona, at a previously unexplored area. He found a few flakes -- tools that are pieces of stone chipped off of a larger stone -- and began digging with a crew of experienced excavators.
What they discovered is a significant development in the field of paleoanthropology: the earliest stone tools and animal bones at the same site, indicating early humans' use of tools to provide food for themselves.
Rogers said the site is on the bank of a river and at one time was probably covered when the river flooded and hasn't been touched since.
The materials found at the site are being kept at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
The research appeared in the September issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.