Friday, September 4, 2009

Years Found!

Tool making has been one of the many things to distinguish the intelligence of our species from others. Previously, the earliest man-made tool dated back to Africa about 1.5 Million years ago but in Europe, only half a million years ago. Scientist have wondered what took so long for tool making to develop in Europe yet an article in the Science Times by Henry Fountain has reported recent discovery of stone-age tools in Spain dating a lot further than previously expected. Fountain explains that the location in Spain Estrecho del QuĂ­par contains a hand-axe dating 900,000 years old. The other location Solano del Zamborino dates a hand-ax at about 760,000 years old. Paleomagnetic dating allows scientist to use the minerals in rock and analyzing the polarity in them determining when the rock was formed.

The main question sparking this article "What took Europe so long for distinguished tools to be formed?" intrigued me the most. Perhaps it was Eurocentric thinking (the idea that European customs and belief's took precedence over non-European societies also belittling non-European customs) stimulated scientist to wonder how a group so advanced could be so behind. Any number of locations could have be inserted in the question "What took so long for distinguished tools to be formed at ___________", yet only Europe came to mind; I find that to be strange. My next question was what other locations were hand-axes found at and how far apart were they? Unfortunately, my answer could not be found in this article.

Besides the regrettably unanswered question, I found this article to be quite informative. It is always interesting when science corrects itself and updates the public about new discoveries. While the migration of the earliest humans (still a long lived debate of what should be considered "human") has been puzzling for years, scientist finally have proof to what made common sense for them, migrating to a neighboring continent should not have taken millions of years!