Our ancestors were carving meat some 800,000 years earlier than previously thought. Marks on fossilised animal bones found in Ethiopia indicate that early-human butchers were using stone tools as early as 3.4 million years ago.
Shannon McPherron of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues say the find is evidence that Australopithecus afarensis – the only known hominin species present in the region at the time – used tools.
The finds suggest that the evolution of toolmaking and meat-eating among our human ancestors is more complex than existing theories admit.
They also add to a growing body of evidence that A. afarensis may have been more human-like and less primitive than some have assumed.
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