New research suggests ancient humans made tools with edges “like a stone-age Leatherman or Swiss Army knife,” according to one anthropologist, much earlier than previously thought.
Using a sophisticated technique to date the dirt surrounding the tools, researchers calculated the more advanced tools to be 1.76 million years old. That compares to the 1.4-to-1.6 million-year-old such tools previously thought to have been the oldest.
Identified as “hand axes, cleavers and picks,” the tools required “a good deal of forethought as well as dexterity to manufacture,” one paleoanthropologist said. The axes were suited for butchering animals or chopping wood, while the picks were used for digging holes.