News of the WeekPaleoanthropology

Chinese Stone Tools Reveal High-Tech Homo erectus

Science  03 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5458, pp. 1566
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5458.1566

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Using state-of-the-art dating techniques, Chinese and American anthropologists report on page 1622 that thousands of sophisticated stone tools found in the Bose basin of the Guangxi Zhuang region of southern China were made roughly 800,000 years ago. That's surprisingly early, as other reliably dated large cutting tools in East Asia are no more than 500,000 years old. The new study disproves a long-standing hypothesis that Homo erectus in Asia was less handy--and by implication, less intelligent and adaptive--than its African relative, who was already making similar stone tools 1.5 million years ago.