Stone Tools Found in Kenya

October 19, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sophisticated (adj.) [suh-fis-ti-key-tid] – advanced or complex yet refined
Example: To avoid flooding, the city built a very sophisticated sewage system.

2. unearth (v.) [uhn-urth] – to get something by digging up 
Example: The anthropologists unearthed insect fossils from the mountain.
3. forethought (n.) [fawr-thawt, fohr-] – a thinking of something beforehand
Example: She gave it a lot of forethought before arriving at a final decision.

4. counterpart (n.) [koun-ter-pahrt] – something that is identical to another, especially in terms of function
Example: Learning a foreign language in the company is necessary to be able to talk comfortably with foreign counterparts.

5. predecessor (n.) [pred-uh-ses-er, pred-uh-ses-er or, especially Brit., pree-duh-ses-er] – something replaced by something else
Example: The new manager is more competitive than his predecessor.

Read the text below.

Sophisticated stone tools believed to be made by direct ancestors of modern humans have been unearthed near Lake Turkana in Kenya. 

These tools are bigger and heavier compared to its earlier counterparts. The tools, found at Kokiselei archaeological site in Nachukui, Kenya, are shaped like teardrops and have distinct chiseled edges. Scientists claim they were hand-axes used for many purposes, ranging from chopping wood to cutting meat. Based on their design, anthropologists categorize the tools under "Acheulian technology".

The sophisticated design of these Acheulian hand-axes indicates forethought in designing. Particular types of rocks also had to be carefully selected in order to make them. Because of these factors, experts suspect that they belong to the primitive human called Homo erectus.

Compared to its predecessor, the Homo habilis, Homo erectus had a bigger brain, was smarter and had more skills using their hands.

Another factor that led scientists to this conclusion involves the tools’ age. Data showed that the tools are about 1.76 million years old and 350,000 years older than other Acheulian tools found. This date reveals that the tools were made during the age when the human species Homo erectus lived.

Homo erectus originated from Africa and then spread throughout Asia before going extinct 70,000 years ago. Experts suspect that they were the direct ancestors of modern humans -- the Homo sapiens.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What do you think makes humans different from other animals?
·         Do you think humans are the superior species? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What do you think about the theory that humans evolved from apes?
·         What does your country’s traditional culture or religion say about how humans came to be?

October 19, 2011