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China’s Oldest Bone Hand Ax

Thursday, January 15, 2015

China-Bone-ToolCHONGQING, CHINA—Science News reports that a hand ax crafted from a stegodon jaw bone fossil has been dated to 170,000 years ago. The jaw’s wide, thick piece of curved bone has an indentation on its inner surface that provided a good grip for digging up edible roots. According to paleontologist Guangbiao Wei of China Three Gorges Museum, who published the findings in Quaternary International, the rare ax was discovered in a cave in China, along with the bones of stegodons, a now-extinct, elephant-like creature, and other large animals. This is the oldest bone hand ax to have been found in East Asia. Stone axes dating to 800,000 years ago have been found in South China. To read about the recent discovery of a similar tool in France, see "Bone Tool Discovered at Neanderthal Site." 

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