Friday, October 01, 2010

Stone Tool Use on Flores Was Earlier Than Previously Thought

Mike Morwood and Adam Brumm, who have working on the island of Flores have discovered tools that are around one million years old. According to a story by Anna Salleh on ABC Science:
The tools came from an entirely new site in the Soa basin, to the east of Liang Bua cave, where the 18,000-year-old 'hobbit', Homo floresiensis was found. The tools, which could only have been made by early humans, were in the very bottom sediment layers of the site, just above the bedrock.
Back in 1994, I was shown a cast of a hominid that had been found in Indonesia, by the late Grover Kranz, in which he argued that the placement of some very primitive crests on the base of the skull placed it either in late Australopithecus or early Homo habilis. This is similar to an argument that has been made by Don Tyler at the University of Idaho, who posits that there was a hominid form in Indonesia he dubs Meganthropus that was more primitive than the later Homo erectus forms. If it does turn out that the tools were made by a hominid form other than Homo erectus, it would add credence to these arguments. We do know that a very primitive form of Homo erectus/ergaster was knocking at the gates of Europe around 1.8 million years. It is not out of the question that such a form would made its way to Indonesia between 500 and 800 k years later.

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