The Atlantic

2.4-Million-Year-Old Stone Tools Turn Up in an Unexpected Place

Artifacts found in Algeria complicate the story of early-human evolution.
Source: Mohamed Sahnouni

To the untrained eye, the rock would have looked like any other. But when Mohamed Sahnouni pulled it out of the ground in the summer of 2006, he immediately recognized it as a chopper: a palm-size tool deliberately flaked to create a sharp cutting edge. It looked exactly like something from the so-called Oldowan culture, a style of stone tools that existed between 1.9 and 2.6 million years ago, predate Homo sapiens, and had mainly come from East Africa.

But Sahnouni wasn’t in East Africa.

For years, he and his colleagues had been exploring the archaeological site of Ain Boucherit in Algeria’s High Plateaus, just an hour’s drive from was much older.

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