Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

How old is meat-eating?

According to a report by Dr Zeresenay Alemseged, it has gone back by nearly a million years, to 3.4 million years ago. Other scientists are less sure.

The evidence is 2 small pieces of bone fragment measuring around 4 inches each, one the leg bone of an animal like a goat or antelope, the other a rib from an animal the size of a cow.

The claim is that the Dikika Research Project in Ethiopia found bones bearing unambiguous evidence of stone tool use – cut marks made while carving meat off the bone and percussion marks created while breaking the bones open to extract marrow.

The bones were dated using a series of volcanic deposits in the area. These were also used to date Selam (Lucy’s baby) to the same era. Selam was found a few hundred metres away while Lucy was found at another site a few miles away.

Microscopic examination rules out recent damage or other explanations, such as animal preditors. It also shows a tiny fragment of stone tool left behind in the butchering process.

Dikika only has stones the size of small pebbles, so the tools came from elsewhere. The scientists can’t say whether the tools were deliberately made or were just lucky finds.

Click here for large scale pictures to check for yourself, and more on the story.

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August 14, 2010 - Posted by | Diet, Evolution, Science, Zeresenay Alemseged

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