The record for oldest stone tools discovered has been broken, with researchers working in Kenya finding a set of tools that are about 3.3 million years old. This eclipses stone tools that had been discovered in Ethiopia in the past, which had up until now been the oldest stone tools discovered. That’s not the most interesting part of the discovery, however — these newest old tools are older than the earliest genus Homo human fossils. The tools, then, are older than modern humans, dashing some previously held beliefs.
The tools were discovered in the Kenyan Rift Valley by archaeologists who believe they were made by australopithecines or Kenyanthropus. A total of 20 stone flakes and anvils were found, and are said to predate Homo humans by 500,000 years. Until now, it was believed that the creation of stone tools started with Homo.
It was on the Lomekwi 3 site near Lake Turkana where the tools were found. Many tools have been found at that location over the past few years, including ones like the anvils and flakes recently discovered. Interesting enough, the tools have been found on the surface as well as below ground.
The age of the tools was determined based on the stratigraphic position in relation to a couple of layers of volcanic ash, among other things. The stone tools that had previously been discovered in Ethiopia were dated at 2.6 million years old, making these latest ones quite a bit older.