14 Stories

These Stone Tools Are Smashing Theories on Africa

At 320K years old, they push back date of Middle Stone Age

(Newser) - For decades, the human story was one told through signs of modernity—art, tools, burials—found only after Homo sapiens left Africa. Recent discoveries pushing back the date of departure are helping to change that narrative, as are three new studies in Science. Together, they describe the earliest stone tools... More »

Neanderthals Expertly Made Tools Still in Use Today

These were no dummies, say researchers in Italy

(Newser) - Modern hunter-gatherers used "digging sticks," crafted from wood, to search for edible roots and tubers, as well as to hunt. It's a tradition that stretches back at least 171,000 years, according to a new PNAS study. Digging in Italy, scientists have uncovered 58 wooden tools—including... More »

Bumble Bees Learn Trick, Surprise Researchers

Most figured out how to pull string for reward after seeing how it's done

(Newser) - Ever wondered how tiny a bumble bee's brain is? Imagine a sesame seed clinging to a burger bun, reports the Washington Post —in other words, it's about 0.0002% the volume of a human brain, as calculated by Science . But that doesn't mean you can't... More »

Archaeologists Find World's Oldest Ax

Only Japan comes close to harboring axes as old as fragment found in Australia

(Newser) - Archaeologists in Australia have found a fragment of an ax far older than any other ever found, evidence that the continent's first Aboriginal people were considerably more sophisticated with toolmaking than they've been given credit for. "We are rewriting history here," Sydney University archaeologist Peter Hiscock... More »

Archaeologists May Have Found World's First Tools

Discovered in Kenya, they predate the arrival of modern humans

(Newser) - Archaeologists may have just rewritten the book on the first use of tools in a major way. The team found what it says are unmistakable stone tools at a site near Lake Turkana in Kenya that date back 3.3 million years, reports Science . That doesn't just eclipse the... More »

Turkey's Oldest Tool Alters European History

Study: Early humans moved from Asia to Europe 1.2M years ago

(Newser) - An early human dropped a stone tool on a floodplain in what is now Turkey about 1.2 million years ago. Today, its discovery is helping scientists pinpoint when humans began their move from Asia to Europe. The quartzite flake, described in Quaternary Science Reviews , is "the earliest securely-dated... More »

Earliest Matches Found at Dig Site

Stone and clay relics in Israel are 8,000 years old

(Newser) - Archaelogists say a set of peculiar, ancient artifacts might just be the earliest known matches. The cylindrical objects, fashioned from stone and clay, date back nearly 8,000 years. At first, scientists thought they were phallic cultural symbols, but then a group of Israeli researchers noticed a striking similarity to... More »

Researchers Pinpoint Oldest Homo Erectus Tools

Axes, other implements go back 1.8M years in Kenya

(Newser) - A new study has identified the oldest known tools to have been used by Homo erectus. Until now, archaeologists had figured that the oldest tools used by man’s ancestor were somewhere in the ballpark of 1.4 million to 1.6 million years old. But now geologists have discovered... More »

Humans Left Africa Far Earlier Than We Thought

Stone tools defy genetic story

(Newser) - Stone tools discovered in the Arabian peninsula suggest modern humans may have left Africa 125,000 years ago—some 50,000 years earlier than previously believed. Genetic data points to humans departing Africa around 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, the BBC notes. But the genetic data is "... More »

Triple-Tool-Wielding Crows Stun Scientists

Problem-solving ability rivals that of primates

(Newser) - The crows of New Caledonia are astounding masters at making and using tools and can solve problems that would flummox many primates, say researchers. Three wild crows, presented with a problem requiring them to use a short tool attached to string to retrieve a larger tool from a box and... More »

Stanley Adds $4.5B Tool to Its Belt: Black & Decker

Hand-tools giant merges with power-tools leader

(Newser) - Two of America’s iconic tool companies are merging, with Stanley buying up Black & Decker in a deal worth $4.5 billion in stock. Stanley Black & Decker, as it will be known, combined complementary facets of the business: B &D is No. 1 in power tools and,... More »

31 Things Men Can't Go Without

(Newser) - There are certain things men cannot do without, that if lost “we would briefly mourn and immediately replace.” Esquire offers up 31 male necessities.
  • Cast-iron skillet: "it will last longer than you."
  • Waiter's corkscrew: corkscrews should not "require instruction manuals."
  • WD-40: "a man's
... More »

Dolphins' Hunting Tools Mostly Used by Females

Dolphin moms pass skills on to daughters; males do their own thing

(Newser) - Beside humans, few other animals use tools to get their everyday chores done. Even fewer of them are marine mammals, so researchers in Australia were surprised to catch bottlenose dolphins employing conical sponges to dig in the seafloor. Mostly female dolphins use the snout-protectors, and only if their mothers showed... More »

They Weren't Such 'Neanderthals'

Early man brighter than suspected, researchers find

(Newser) - Neanderthals were just as smart as their stone-age rivals, the latest research into the roots of mankind concludes. Scientific teams who learned how to make and use Neanderthal tools found their technology just as efficient as that used by Homo sapiens, reports the Independent. The study runs counter to theories... More »

14 Stories