Evidence of hominins building wooden structures half a million years ago

Archaeologists say they have discovered the oldest wooden structure ever found. A team of scientists have found well-preserved wood in Zambia that dates back at least 476,000 years: older than our own species, Homo sapiens. Link to the article from the website of the University of Liverpool, whose team contributed to the research, here.

Expert analysis of stone tool cut-marks on the wood show that these early humans shaped and joined two large logs to make a structure, probably the foundation of a platform or part of a dwelling.

This is the earliest evidence from anywhere in the world of the deliberate crafting of logs to fit together. Until now, evidence for the human use of wood was limited to its use for making fire, digging sticks and spears.

It is rare to find wood in a site as ancient as this one because it usually rots away, but high water levels preserved the wood.

This discovery challenges the prevailing view that Stone Age humans were nomadic. At Kalambo Falls these humans not only had a perennial source of water, but the forest around them provided enough food to enable them to settle and make structures.

Note that the article refers to "humans," but these beings predate Homo sapiens (and were possibly Homo erectus?).

This discovery is consistent with discoveries in the Rising Star cave system in South Africa, where a team of researchers found evidence that small-brained hominins buried their dead, used fire, and created art about 300,000 years ago (which I wrote about here): Non-Homo sapiens hominin species may have created culture and technology more complex than we would have imagined.

The research was published in the journal Nature.

h/t Rick Mandler