Prehistoric ‘Swiss Army knife’ used to spear enemies, scrape rocks and dig holes reveals complex tools emerged in East Asia 170,000 years ago

Monday, November 19, 2018
By Paul Martin

Levallois cores developed in Africa and Western Europe 300,000 years ago
Until now, this was not believed to have emerged in Asia until 40,000 years ago
Scientists say the carved stone tools are a sign of more-advanced tool-making

19 November 2018

A prehistoric ‘Swiss Army knife’ used to spear, slice, scrape or dig has been discovered in China.

The 170,000-year-old tool, known as a ‘Levallois stone’, is a sign of advanced tool-making and is considered the ‘multi-tool’ of the prehistoric world.

Levallois stones have previously been found in East Africa, and are thought to have first appeared around 300,000 years ago.

Scientists had thought that this level of sophisticated tool making didn’t emerge in East Asia until 40,000 years ago, but the new find pushes this figure back by 130,000 years.

Levallois cores developed in Africa and Western Europe as far back as 300,000 years ago.

However, until now, this technology was not believed to have emerged in East Asia until 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Researchers believe people in Asia developed Levallois cores independently, according to the paper published in Nature.

‘It used to be thought that Levallois cores came to China relatively recently with modern humans,’ said author Ben Marwick, a University of Washington associate professor of anthropology.

‘Our work reveals the complexity and adaptability of people there that is equivalent to elsewhere in the world. It shows the diversity of the human experience’, he said.

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