A major study of sharp-edge stone tools used by human ancestors over a span of two million years challenges the conventional perception that stone tool technology advanced in a simple linear progression.

Researchers from Max Planck Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State University, George Washington University and UOW analysed more than 19,000 stone flakes from 34 sites in Africa, southwest Asia and western Europe. The artefacts ranged in age from two million years old to 12,000 years old.

Their research is published in Nature Ecology and Evolution in a paper titled ‘Two million years of flaking stone and the evolutionary efficiency of stone tool technology’.

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