Stone tools are useful. Not only for their original producers when it comes to cutting and removing meat. But for anthropologists who follow the migration and evolution of mankind.
So, when a strangely built set of blades appears in a place outside the place, which date much earlier than they ever expected, they sit and notice.
According to a study by the Australian University of Vollongong published in a scientific journal the nature , a cluster of paleolithic tools found in the cave in southwestern China dates back between 80,000 and 170,000 years old.
This does not fit.
The perception that the human population migrated from Africa, to Europe and through Asia does not correspond to that timeframe.
This is too early.
They show production techniques that are seen only in neanderthal and Homo Sapiens methods half a world at that time.
For a long time we knew several different types of people who lived next to each other. And in the last decades, a long lost species – called Denisovci after the Siberian cave – was first found – begins to be seen.
So who – or what – did these strange Chinese artifacts?
We do not know.
None of the bones were found from the location.
But the invention has many implications.
"Our new discovery … suggests that they could have been invented at the local level without input from any other place, or come from a much earlier cultural transfer or human migration," study authors in Talk. "These Chinese artifacts provide another proof that changes the way of thinking about the origin and the spread of new stone tool technologies."
Several such discoveries are disturbing the established arrangements for migrating people.
SNOWS IN STONES
Stone tools reveal a lot about their manufacturers. It's not just about killing stones until a few sharp flakes fall – well, at least not from the first inventors.
As the human mind develops, so is the complexity with which they have shaped and put together their tools.
Archaeologists have identified five different ways of building stone tools. Each represents a significant improvement compared to those that have appeared earlier – and a more complex construction process.
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According to study authors, the seat precisely in the middle of this evolution of the stone system is a controversial group called Mode III (Levallois). This includes hitting useful flakes from a pre-prepared stone core.
"They are the result of a set of very specific steps of crushing stone pieces to create tools of similar size suitable for shaping for various purposes," the authors write.
They represent a major step forward in efficiency – both in terms of effort and reduced waste.
But, where did this style come from?
"One of these discussions is whether the mode of III is invented in one place, and then spread or invented independently in several different locations."
The oldest group of Leval's stones was found in Africa, dating back 300,000 years ago. And the previous trace of evidence suggests that this style of tool-making came only to China some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.
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But the analysis of 2273 artifacts discovered from the Guaniindong Cave in the Guizhou Province revealed 45 examples that fit the style of Levalo.
"We found Mode III tools in layers of around 170,000 and about 80,000 years ago, which puts them long before the Tool IV tool (cutting board), and about the same time Levallois were the main tools used in Europe and Africa."
The answer might be related to new evidence of a lost tribe of people who may have been well established in Asia long before modern Homo Sapiens arrived.
And maybe they were innovators.
Recent findings point to a third group living isolated from Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens. But apart from the remnants of finger and some of the scattered artifacts in Siberia, as well as a few unusual hybrid skulls in China, nothing is known about them.
They are Denisans.
"It was thought that Levallois's core had recently come to China with modern people," says Ben Marvick, University of Washington co-author. "Our work reveals the complexity and adaptability of people where it is equivalent elsewhere in the world. It shows the diversity of human experience."
His co-authors, Bo Li and Hu Iue from the University of Volongong, took a step further.
"One reason that it was so difficult to find evidence of a technique in China so far is that the number of people in East Asia during the Palaeolithic may have been much lower than in the West," they argue.
"We do not know which types of people have made the tools on Guaniindong because we did not find the bone. Whoever it was, they had similar skills for people living in the West at the same time. It seems that they have independently discovered the strategy of Levalo in China At the same time people used it to a large extent in Europe and Africa. "
The authors claim that the best way is to find out that they are returning and carrying out extensive new excavations. Most of their studies were completed based on museum records and patterns based on what had been done there in the 1960s and '70s, and comparing them with fresh soil samples found from the site.
"Our work shows that ancient people were equally capable of innovation as anywhere else. Technological innovations in East Asia can be domestic, and not always walk from the West," says Marvick.