Ancient Stone Tools Discovered In India May Point To A Much Earlier Human Departure Out Of Africa

Achmad IbrahimAP Images

A plethora of stone tools have just been discovered in southern India which may show that Homo sapiens left Africa at a much earlier data than previously thought. Seven thousand artifacts have now been recovered from Attirampakkam which date to between 385,000 to 172,000 years ago.

While the recent find of a 200,000-year-old jawbone in Israel has already shown that humans may have departed Africa much sooner than scientists believed, these tools may also challenge the previously estimated migration of Homo sapiens.

It has been widely assumed that Middle Paleolithic technology first came to India 140,000 years at the very earliest, but scientists have said that they are still currently “very cautious” when it comes to speculation about these new stone tools. This is because there were no human remains found with these tools, showing they were definitively made by humans, and because these same tools have also been shown to have been used by Neanderthals.

Furthermore, it has been questioned whether these stone tools found in India were the exclusive result of Homo sapiens having migrated out of Africa as there is still the distinct possibility that a group of humans already living in the region may have created them, according to Professor Shanti Pappu.

The style of these new stone tools is quite different from older tools that were recovered from the same site and have much smaller flakes than the previous ones, as Phys.org reports. Of the idea that these stone tools were fashioned by Homo sapiens that left Africa over 385,000 to 172,000 years ago, Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute has said, “I simply don’t buy it.”

Petraglia questions the creation of these stone tools found in India much like Professor Pappu, and believes that another possibility for their existence is that close cousins of Homo sapiens in India could also have fashioned the tools with no other influences whatsoever.

However, trying to prove that humans left Africa, traveled to India, and were using these tools may be a difficult task, especially considering the fact that India doesn’t have a large number of archaeological sites that have been thoroughly researched, and so far archaeologists have only extracted one fossil in India from this specific period of time.

For more information about the recent discovery of stone tools in India which may have been forged by humans leaving Africa earlier than had previously been thought, the results of this study can be read in the scientific journal Nature.