A study by an international team of researchers, including from the University of Washington, determines that carved stone tools, also known as Levallois cores, were used in Asia 80,000 to 170,000 years ago. Developed in Africa and Western Europe as far back as 300,000 years ago, the cores are a sign of more-advanced toolmaking -- the "multi-tool" of the prehistoric world -- but, until now, were not believed to have emerged in East Asia until 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.And now the, somewhat, startling conclusion:
With the find -- and absent human fossils linking the tools to migrating populations -- researchers believe people in Asia developed the technology independently, evidence of similar sets of skills evolving throughout different parts of the ancient world.This particular conclusion seems somewhat ignorant of the fossil record, which clearly has hominins in the area that have distinct Neandertal traits. The authors, in fact, even mention the possibility that the appearance of the tools might be tied to these earlier migrations, then seem to dismiss this for reasons that are, in my mind, not clear.
The site, itself, Guanyindong Cave in Guizhou Province, is not new, having been excavated in the 1960s and 1970s.What is new is the date of 80-170 kya. Levallois tools were thought to have arrived in the area around 30-40 kya and are seen as the artifacts of a late migration. This re-dating of the sediments of Guanyindong Cave means that these kinds of tools were in the area some 100 ky earlier than was originally thought. I do, however, think their evidence for independent origin is sparse.