3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Harmand, Sonia; Lewis, Jason E; Feibel, Craig S; Lepre, Christopher J; Prat, Sandrine; Lenoble, Arnaud; Boës, Xavier; Quinn, Rhonda L; Brenet, Michel; Arroyo, Adrian; Taylor, Nicholas; Clément, Sophie; Daver, Guillaume; Brugal, Jean-Philip; Leakey, Louise; Mortlock, Richard A; Wright, James D; Lokorodi, Sammy; Kirwa, Christopher; Kent, Dennis V; Roche, Hélène
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Nature
Volume: 521
Issue: 7552
Pagination: 310-5
Date Published: 2015 May 21
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1476-4687
Keywords: Animals, Archaeology, Biological Evolution, Environment, Fossils, History, Ancient, Hominidae, Kenya, Paleontology, Technology, Time Factors, Tool Use Behavior

Human evolutionary scholars have long supposed that the earliest stone tools were made by the genus Homo and that this technological development was directly linked to climate change and the spread of savannah grasslands. New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier hominin technological behaviour. We report the discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatiotemporal association with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. The Lomekwi 3 knappers, with a developing understanding of stone's fracture properties, combined core reduction with battering activities. Given the implications of the Lomekwi 3 assemblage for models aiming to converge environmental change, hominin evolution and technological origins, we propose for it the name 'Lomekwian', which predates the Oldowan by 700,000 years and marks a new beginning to the known archaeological record.

DOI: 10.1038/nature14464
Alternate Journal: Nature