Tools show ancestors were 'sophisticated' humans evolved in Africa

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The Independent Online

A collection of bone tools dating back 70,000 years could turn the accepted view of human evolution on its head, scientists said yesterday.

A collection of bone tools dating back 70,000 years could turn the accepted view of human evolution on its head, scientists said yesterday.

The intricately-worked tools, found in a seaside cave on the southern tip of South Africa, show that our early human ancestors were far more sophisticated than previously thought.

Until now it was assumed that "modern" behaviour – symbolised by carefully crafted bones – did not start until 40,000 years ago, long after the first anatomically modern human had emerged from Africa.

Christopher Henshilwood, an archaelogist from the South African Museum in Cape Town and a member of the team that made the discovery, said: "The implication is that there was modern human behaviour in Africa about 35,000 years before Europe. What has been suggested up until now is that [it] was a very late occurrence."

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