Ancient stone tools found in Ukraine date back more than a million years and are probably the oldest in Europe

Washington (AFP) – Ancient stone tools found in western Ukraine may be the oldest known evidence of early human presence in Europe, according to the British Daily Mail. Research published on Wednesday In the journal Nature.

The chipped stones, deliberately made from volcanic rock, were extracted from a quarry in Korolevu in the 1970s. Archaeologists have used new methods to date the layers of sedimentary rock surrounding the tools back more than a million years.

“This is the oldest dated evidence of any human species in Europe,” said Mads Forsho Knudsen, a geophysicist at Aarhus University in Denmark and co-author of the new study.

He said it is not certain which early human ancestors made the tools, but it may have been Homo erectus, the first species to walk upright and master the use of fire.

“We don't have fossil remains, so we can't be sure,” said Roman Garba, an archaeologist at the Czech Academy of Sciences and co-author.

He added that it was likely that the chipped stone tools were used to cut meat and perhaps scrape animal skins.

Researchers indicate that the tools may be up to 1.4 million years old, but other experts say that the study's methodology indicates that they may be a little more than a million years old, which puts them in roughly the same time range as other ancient tools discovered in Spain.

Rick Potts, who directs the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution, said the oldest stone tools of this type were found in East Africa and date back to 2.8 million years ago.

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The Ukraine site is important because it is the “earliest site located this far north,” suggesting that early humans who dispersed from Africa using these tools were able to survive in diverse environments.

“The earliest humans using this ancient stone tool technology were able to colonize everywhere from warm Iberia (Spain) to Ukraine, where it is at least seasonally very cold — that's an amazing level of adaptability,” Potts said.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science and Education Media Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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