A technique used to produce stone tools that were first found 500,000 years ago has most likely required a modern human-like hand, according to new research.
The technique will be & # 39; platform preparation & # 39; – preparing a conspicuous area on a tool to remove specific stone flakes and forming the tool into a pre-designed design – and without the ability to perform very powerful precision grips, our ancestors would not have been able to use advanced types to produce stone tools such as spearheads.
Platform preparation is essential for making many different types of advanced prehistoric stones, with the earliest known event observed on the 500,000 year old site of Boxgrove in West Sussex, United Kingdom.
Comparison between a Handaxe and a Clovis Point.Credit: Alastair Key and Metin Eren
Using sensors that were confirmed by experienced flint knives (producers of stone implements), the researchers were able to establish that platform preparation behavior forced the hand to exert considerably more pressure through the fingers compared to all the other stone tools studied.
The research shows that the Boxgrove hominins (early people) needed significantly stronger grades compared to previous populations that did not perform this behavior. It further suggests that highly modified and shaped stone tools, such as the handles discovered in Boxgrove and stone spearheads found in later prehistoric times, could not be produced until man developed the ability to perform particularly powerful handles.
This discovery is especially important because human hand grenades rarely survive in the fossil record.