Some stone tools unearthed at China’s Shangchen site date to roughly 250,000 years before what was previously the oldest Eurasian evidence of Homo, say geologist Zhaoyu Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou and his colleagues.
Homo erectus fossils unearthed at Dmanisi date to between 1.85 million and 1.77 million years ago (SN: 11/16/13, p. 6).
After learning how to make stone flakes sharp enough to slice meat off animals’ carcasses around 2.6 million years ago, African hominids may have had the survival skills to fan out into Asia and reach Shangchen by 2.1 million years ago, Dennell says.
Dates for those geologic events came from published age estimates for ancient reversals of Earth’s magnetic field documented at sites in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
A previously dated magnetic reversal that corresponds to the oldest one at Shangchen dates to at least 1.95 million years old, not 2.12 million years, says archaeologist and geologist Reid Ferring of the University of North Texas in Denton.