A team of scientists led by Mohamed Sahnuni, archaeologist at Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has just published an article Science which extends with the paradigm that the cradle of humanity lies in East Africa on the basis of archaeological remains found in places in the region of Ain Hanech (Algeria), the oldest known in the north of Africa.
For a long time, East Africa is considered to be the place of origin of the earliest hominins and Lithuanian technology, because hitherto very little was known about the first occupation and activities of hominins in the north of the continent. Two decades of field and laboratory research led by Dr. Sahnouni showed that hominid hominines actually produced stone tools in North Africa that are close to the present with the oldest known stone tools in East Africa, dating back 2.6 million years.
These are stone artefacts and bones of stone-bearing stone, with an estimated chronology of 2.4 and 1.9 million years, located on two levels in the Ain Boucherit (Ain Hanech), dating to paleomagnetism, electrons Spinal Resonance (ESR) and Biochronology of large mammals excavated together with archaeological materials.
Animal fossils, such as pigs, horses, and elephants, come from very ancient sites and are used by paleontologist Jan van der Madem of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid to confirm the ages developed by paleomagnetism acquired by CENIEH Josep Parés and ESR geocronologist who found Mathieu Duval of Griffith University.
The Ain Boucherit artifacts were made of locally available limestone and quartz, and included faces processed on drills, polyhedras and subspheroids, as well as cutting edge sharp tools used to process animal bodies. These artifacts are typical of ancient stone technology known from 2.6-1.9 million years old settlements in East Africa, although those of Ain Boucherit show subtle variations.
"The Lithuanian industry of Ain Boucherit, which is technologically similar to Gina and Olduvai, shows that our ancestors have ventured into every corner of Africa, not just East Africa." Algerian evidence alters the earlier view that East Africa is the cradle of humanity. all Africa's cradle of humanity, "says Sahnouni, project leader Ain Hanech.
Not just deviations
Ain Boucherit is one of the few archaeological sites in Africa that provided evidence of bones with the relevant cutting and percussion features with stone tools, which undoubtedly shows that these hominids used meat and bone marrow from animals of all sizes and skeleton portions, which indicates withdrawal, deflection and deflection of the upper and middle extremities.
Isabel Cáceres, an IPHES taphonomist, noted that "the effective use of Ain Boucherit's sharp edges suggests that our predecessors were not mere deviations. At this point it is unclear whether they hunted, but the evidence clearly shows that they successfully compete with carnivores and that have first access to animal bodies. "
At this point, the most important question is who manufactured the stone tools that were discovered in Algeria. Hominin's remains have not yet been found in North Africa, which are contemporary with the oldest artifacts stones. In fact, no hominins have yet been documented in direct connection with the first stone tools known from East Africa.
However, the recent discovery in Ethiopia has revealed the presence of an early Homo dated to 2.8 million years, most likely the best candidate for East and North African materials.
Scientists have long believed that hominins and their material culture originated from the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. Surprisingly, the oldest known hominin, dated to 7.0 million years, and 3.3 million years Australopithecus bahrelghazali, were discovered in Chad, in the Sahara, 3000 km from the broken valleys in eastern Africa.
When Sileshi Semaw, a CENIEH scientist and co-author of this article, explains that the hominins contemporaneous with Lucy (3.2 million years) were probably sunk after the Sahara, and their descendants could be responsible for the fact that these archaeological puzzles discovered in Algeria they are close to the contemporaries of East Africa.
"Future research will focus on looking for human fossils in nearby Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene deposits that are looking for tool makers and even older stone tools," Sahnouni concludes.