The First Tools

The invention of tools changed how man lived.  The first tools were found in what is now Tanzania at Olduvai Gorge in the Great Rift Valley on the Serengeti Plains in East Africa. The archaeological site, once the site of a large lake, has been home to mankind for almost two million years.

Archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey, and later their son Robert, began their excavations at Olduvai Gorge in 1931. They discovered evidence of the production and use of stone tools which indicated scavenging and hunting. They found more than 2,000 stone tools and flakes at the site.

Chopper Tools

Sharp Flake Tools

The Oldowan tools had sharp, shaped edges. The tools were fashioned by striking the core (cobble) at the correct angle to produce sharp-edged flakes. The lithic (stone) flakes were taken off in the intentional shaping of the tools’ points. The special types of rocks for shaping the tools were transported up to 9 miles from the place of origin. The sharp flakes were used to cut meat off animal carcasses. The shaped cobbles (called choppers) were used to extract the marrow from inside the bones, or to chop up plant foods.

Finally, tools and remains of animals in one central place implies cooperation and sharing, whether in a community or camp with groups of individuals living together which leads to tomorrow’s discoveries and inventions.  Rita Bay

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