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

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Science  29 Nov 2018:
eaau0008
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau0008

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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.

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