Archaeologists have discovered the oldest stone tools used by early humans in Kenya. The tools are believed to be about 3.3 million years old.

Sonia Harmand, a paleolithic archaeologist at the Stony Brook University in New York, led the group that discovered the ancient tools. Harmand revealed that they found the tools by accident. The tools are about 700,000 years older than the previously found oldest stone tools used by humans.

The newly discovered tools are also 500,000 years older than modern-day human species. Scientists suggest that the discovery is relevant as it suggests that humans were making tools much earlier than when the genus Homo came into existence.

Harmand revealed that the excavation team found the tools from a site called Lomekwi 3, which is just west of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The site is around 1,000 kilometers, or 621 miles, away from Olduvai Gorge. The excavation work at the site started after Harmand identified stone tools lying on the sandy surface in 2011.

Until now the oldest stone tools made by early humans were dated back to 2.6 million years and were discovered in Ethiopia. In 2010, some researchers also found cut marks on animal bones while working at a Dikika region of Ethiopia, which made them believe that humans dating to that age may have used stone tools.

The cut marks started a heated debate as some archaeologists claimed that they were not made by stone tools but were the result of probable animal or human trampling. As no tools dating 3.4 million years old were found, the debate continued. Now, the claims can be reassessed as stone tools dated to that time have been found.

Harmard revealed that the excavation team has found about 20 flakes, anvils and cores in good condition. About 130 more stone tools were unearthed from the site.

"The artifacts were clearly knapped [created by intentional flaking] and not the result of accidental fracture of rocks," said Harmand.

The latest find has been applauded in the anthropology community. Alison Brooks, an anthropologist at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., also revealed that the stone tools do not seem to have been created naturally but were made by humans.

Photo: Odense Bys Museer | Flickr

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