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Science. 2018 Nov 29. pii: eaau0008. doi: 10.1126/science.aau0008. [Epub ahead of print]

1.9-million- and 2.4-million-year-old artifacts and stone tool-cutmarked bones from Ain Boucherit, Algeria.

Author information

1
Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), Burgos, Spain. mohamed.sahnouni@cenieh.es.
2
Centre National de Recherches Préhistoriques, Anthropologiques et Historiques (CNRPAH), Algiers, Algeria.
3
Stone Age Institute and Anthropology Department, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.
4
Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), Burgos, Spain.
5
Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
6
Àrea de Prehistòria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain.
7
Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), Tarragona, Spain.
8
Musée National du Bardo, Algiers, Algeria.
9
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.
10
Département Homme et Environnement, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN), Paris, France.
11
Département d'Archéologie, Université Lamine Debaghine Sétif 2, Sétif, Algeria.
12
Institut d'Archéologie, Université Alger 2, Algiers, Algeria.
13
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università Degli Studi di Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

Abstract

East Africa has provided the earliest known evidence for Oldowan stone artifacts and hominin induced stone tool cutmarks dated to ~2.6 million years ago (Ma). The ~1.8 Ma stone artifacts from Ain Hanech (Algeria) were considered to represent the oldest archaeological materials in North Africa. Here we report older stone artifacts and cutmarked bones excavated from two nearby deposits at Ain Boucherit estimated to ~ 1.9 Ma, and the older to ~2.4 Ma. Hence, the Ain Boucherit evidence shows that ancestral hominins inhabited the Mediterranean fringe in Northern Africa much earlier than previously thought. The evidence strongly argues for early dispersal of stone tool manufacture and use from East Africa, or a possible multiple origin scenario of stone technology in both East and North Africa.

PMID:
30498166
DOI:
10.1126/science.aau0008

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