Tool-Marked Bones Prior to the Oldowan Change the Paradigm

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Conference Proceeding

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Domínguez-Rodrigo et al. (1) critiqued our paper (2), which provided the earliest evidence for stone tool use and animal tissue consumption as evidenced by bones bearing tool-induced marks found at DIK-55 (Dikika, Ethiopia) and dated to 3.39 Ma. Applying a configurational approach, they questioned the bones’ context and without examining or conducting new analysis on the original fossils, argued that all of the Dikika marks resulted from trampling, because a small subset of these marks superficially resembled a small subset of experimentally trampled specimens. Furthermore, they argued (1) that stone tool use and meat consumption before the current consensus dates requires finding manufactured stone tools in situ at the same or similarly dated localities as the tool-marked bones. Also, in their view, the modified bones should be found in situ and completely without additional marks that could fall within the variation of non-stone tool-inflicted marks. If these conditions are not met, they argued that marks that would otherwise be interpreted as stone tool-inflicted (e.g., DIK-55—two marks, A1 and A2) must also be rejected.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, v. 108, issue 21, art. E116