Archaeologists working in Kenya took a left turn instead of a right in a dry riverbed, and that chance diversion resulted in the discovery of the oldest stone tools known to date.
At an estimated 3.3 million years of age, their manufacture predates the existence of the Homo genus species.
The find presents the possibility that modern science hasn't been giving our very early ancestors as much credit as they deserve.
Said an archaeologist not affiliated with the study, "It suggests that species...might have been intelligent enough to make stone tools – that they had the cognitive and manipulative abilities to carry tasks like this out."
The pieces uncovered aren't particularly sophisticated, but they're likely intended uses are apparent.
Researchers have identified hammers, cutting devices, and anvils.
A particularly puzzling thing about a number of them, however, is their size.
Some are quite enormous, weighing up to roughly 33 pounds, and scientists are hard pressed to come up with ways in which that could have been particularly beneficial.
Also unknown at this time is exactly which ancient species crafted the tools.
The team has narrowed it down to a handful of strong candidates, but has not made a definitive selection among them.
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