A piece of wood believed to have been manipulated 476,000 years ago may be one of the first-known artifacts of our ancient ancestors, who predate Homo sapiens, according to a new study.
The study, published Sept. 20 in the journal Nature, details how researchers and archaeologists working at the Kalambo Falls site in Zambia found a piece of wood believed to be nearly half-a-million years old. Cut marks on the wood are thought to have been made by stone tools, showing how early humans shaped and joined two logs to form a structure.
It’s thought the structure was a foundation or platform, which is pretty freaking cool. Most mainstream archaeologists argue humans didn’t really start building significant structures until the agricultural revolution after the Younger Dryas mini ice-age ended a little over 11,000 years ago.
But the structure uncovered in Zambia is one of the first to suggest a species of human that predates the evolution of Homo sapiens may have been building and manipulating the world well before we showed up on the scene, according to ZME Science.
An ancient wooden structure found at Kalambo Falls, Zambia—dated to about 476,000 years ago—may represent the earliest use of wood in construction, according to a paper in @Nature. https://t.co/dj5QJvaXum pic.twitter.com/Z6ArRQVU4D
— Nature Portfolio (@NaturePortfolio) September 20, 2023
As wood typically rots and disappears, it could be that humans way into our past build huge, thriving communities out of wood. Absolutely any trace of these populations would have been eradicated entirely in the last 500,000 years, leading to the question: Have past species of humans reached peak civilization before?
The planet has been battered with countless catastrophes in the last 500,000 years, many of which would have easily wiped out our ancestors — or at least knocked them back to the Dark Ages. (RELATED: Food Security Isn’t Being Tracked, According To Scientists. Here’s Why That’s A Huge Issue)
We have plenty of evidence emerging around the world of what appears to be a globalized civilization that predates what mainstream archaeology wants us to think is the human story. Could this be the next chapter in understanding our past?