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Science

Stone Tool 1.83M Years Old Discovered In Malaysia 200

Posted by kdawson
from the chipping-away-at-it dept.
goran72 writes with news out of Malaysia that archaeologists have announced the discovery of stone tools more than 1.8 million years old — the earliest evidence of human ancestors in South-east Asia. Researchers believe the tools were made by members of the early human ancestor species Homo erectus. The tools actually date as slightly older than the earliest H. erectus fossils, which came from Georgia and China. No bones of that antiquity have so far been found in Malaysia. "The stone hand-axes were discovered last year in the historical site of Lenggong in northern Perak state, embedded in a type of rock formed by meteorites which was sent to a Japanese lab to be dated."
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Stone Tool 1.83M Years Old Discovered In Malaysia

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  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @08:04PM (#26688257)

    But it's very hard to explain a whole bunch of tool-like rocks together in one heap as anything other than people making them. And that's what they found here.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:01PM (#26688579) Journal
    "at what point does a stone that happens to have been eroded/chipped naturally into the rough shape of an axe-head become a stone that has been intentionally crafted by (pre)human hands."

    That question seriously underestimates the abilities of both those who made stone tools and those who found them.
  • by Guido von Guido (548827) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:40PM (#26688803)

    Well, they do have previously discovered examples of Lower Paleolithic tools to compare this find with. I think the original finds were pretty thoroughly (and skeptically) reviewed.

    I don't think the comparison to Intelligent Design is very useful. In Intelligent Design, we know nothing about the Designer, the Designer's methods or the Designer's goals. There is no real experimental work being done.

    In contrast, we have a pretty good idea of who made (or who would have made) these tools, what their goals were and what their methods were. Based on this, we can do quite a bit of experimentation to figure out what we don't know (or even whether or not they're tools at all).

  • by macraig (621737) <mark@a@craig.gmail@com> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:27PM (#26689591)

    I meant it merely as a rhetorical example, of people who are so motivated to find or justify a particular thing that it will pervert how they interpret what they find or observe. That type of personality is not absent in scientific disciplines, though it certainly should be. It all hinges on whether and how much a person becomes emotionally invested in some idea or thing. Remember the story of the Piltdown Man hoax? Even after the hoax was revealed, there were some "scientists" who for a time stubbornly clung to its veracity. I have a hard time granting such a person the title of scientist at all.

  • by BigAssRat (724675) on Monday February 02, 2009 @02:27AM (#26691009)
    Ok, fine, you find a tool that the ROCK that it is made of dates back to 1.8 million years. So what? Does this mean that the composition of the rock changed at the time it was formed into a tool? Wouldn't the carbon dating stay the same before and after the "chipping away" of the portions that that were removed to form the tool? So the rock is 1.8 million years old, who is to say that the TOOL is not only 750 years old?

    Am I missing something here?
  • by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Monday February 02, 2009 @05:11AM (#26691875) Journal

    Yep, because training by spending years sitting at desk means that they are now Ivory members of the intellectual elite well beyond us unwashed.

    Little anecdote for you: Two experts are walking along, and one sees a $100 bill in the gutter and he asks his friend "Is that a $100 bill?" to which the friend replies """well it looks like it, but if it were obviously someone walking by before us must have seen it, so the fact that they didn't take it proves that it must not be," and off they walk.

    Science works through falsifiability and the idea of a null hypothesis, so if your going to criticise that stupid comment, do it based on the general lack of knowledge it displayed, but don't do it by attributing special value to archaeologists in a way that implies he is ignorant for questioning their dogma.

  • by Gryle (933382) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:04AM (#26693549)
    If you wanted your kid to remain un-traumatized , you probably shouldn't have let him visit Slashdot.

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