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“What distinguished the Middle Stone Age is a shift from large, heavy-duty stone tools to an emphasis on producing stone flakes that were smaller and lighter,” said Shannon Mc Pherron, archaeologist at Max Planck and one of the study authors.
“They would transform these flakes into pointed forms that most archeologists think were part of weaponry, increased sufficiency in hunting at a distance, which was more effective and safer for the hunter.” During the time these Homo sapiens lived, the site at the collapsed hill was actually a cave that provided shelter.
This is facilitated by the fact that between 330,000 to 300,000 years before present, Africa did not look like it does today and there was no Sahara Desert.
The facial features of the skull look like a modern human, but the brain case is very elongated and archaically characteristic of early humans.
There has been increasing evidence that the modern human lineage diverged from Neanderthals and Denisovans 500,000 years ago, making us close relatives rather than direct descendants.
“The story of our species in the last 300,000 years is mostly the evolution of our brain and in this time period, a number of mutations occurred affecting brain connectivity,” Hublin said.
How the fossils were discovered East Africa has been considered the “cradle of life” for the origins and evolution of humans, but north Africa has been largely ignored in this aspect.
The tools and fire evidence also point to this being a site linked with the Middle Stone Age.