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First primate archaeological dig uncovers new tool development links

fellow who receives support through NSFs Integrative Graduate education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, said the discovery could help archaeologists establish new dates for tool development. She and Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology co-authored the paper with Mercader.

We know that flaked stone tools were used 2.5 million years ago, but stone tools may have been used by hominids as much as 5 million years ago, Panger said. If we look for assemblages of stone pieces like those we have found left behind by the chimpanzees, we can infer that those assemblages may relate to tool use, even if we dont have the tools themselves.

Mark Weiss, NSF program director for physical anthropology said, Understanding the activities of our early ancestors involves a lot of detective work. Mercader, Panger and Boeschs work is an ingenious approach to trying to tease out more information from the archaeological recordtrying to flesh out the context of the earliest flake assemblages.


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Contact: Bill Harms
wharms@nsf.gov
703-292-8070
National Science Foundation
23-May-2002


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