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Family Tree Flake Research Paper

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The ability to make and use tools dates back millions of years in our family tree. Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, can on their own devise spear-like weapons for hunting and create specialized tool kits for foraging ants, suggesting our family tree may have possessed wooden tools since the ancestors of humans and chimps diverged some 4 million years ago.

The dawn of stone tools dates back some 2.6 million years to Gona in Ethiopia. Known as the Oldowan, these include not just fist-sized hunks of rock for pounding, but also the first known manufacture of stone tools — sharp flakes created by knapping, or striking a hard stone against quartz, obsidian, flint or any other rock whose flakes can hold an edge. At this time are also the oldest known butchered animal bones.
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This was the extent of the technology for nearly a million years. "It was probably very ad hoc — when you needed a stone tool and you didn't have one, just made one, then dropped it," said paleoanthropologist Thomas Wynn at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Such technology is just slightly past the range of what apes generally do, Wynn added. Indeed, chimpanzees in the wild can use stones as simple tools for hammering, and the chimpanzee-like bonobo ape can even be taught how to flake stone to make cutting tools. "These don't seem to represent any great intellectual leap," he
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