Stone tools were recovered from the layer below the level of tuff dated to 2.6 Ma BP. It is very important that it was for the first time that contemporaneity of artifacts and human fossils was established. The fossil remains of an early Homo discovered in the Omo River valley (2.4–2.0 Ma) and in Hadar (2.4–2.3 Ma), were also discovered in association with stone tools.


The main question is who produced the most ancient industry and if local variability in stone tools manufacturing was possible at the initial stage of anthropogenesis. The problem is that not a single archaeological site discovered so far have produced indisputable evidence on the joint occurrence of tools and human bones in the stratified archaeological context corresponding to the earliest stage of human evolvement. It is quite likely that the stone tools found in Omo, Hadar and Lokalalei were produced by the Homo habilis. S. Semaw argued that the artifacts found in the Kada Gona River basin could have belonged to Australopithecus garhi (Semaw, 2000). This possibility is suggested by the fact that the stone tools were discovered in association with antelope bones fractured by Australopithecines (Asfaw, White, Lovejoy et al., 1999).


Currently, archaeologists and anthropologists cannot unequivocally answer the questions whether the first stone tools could have been manufactured by the early Homo, or whether gracile and robust Australopithecines could have participated in this process. After studying the metacarpals of the robust Australopithecus, anthropologist R. Susman came to a conclusion that the Paranthropus was close to humans and that the possibility of manufacturing stone tools by the Paranthropus should not be excluded (Susman, 1994).


The late Australopithecines (A. aethiopicus, A. garhi, A. boisei) could have easily made fl akes through various techniques and used them in various types of operations. The early Homo representatives could also have used various techniques in manufacturing stone tools. Due to the divergence processes in the evolution of early Homo and late Australopithecus, the emergence of the local varieties of early industries was not only possible but also inevitable.


The industry of the Omo localities supports this hypothesis. The Omo lithic industry is dominated by small cores and flakes removed from those cores; this industry has been defined as special Shungura facies (Chavaillon, 1970). The stone collections from the Omo localities were carefully studied by Ignesio de la Torre, who also concluded on the microlithic nature of this industry (Torre, 2004).

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