Prehistoric Copycats

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The early human ancestors in Africa were sharing knowledge and communicating across vast distances more than 60,000 years ago, according to a recent study.

A research team discovered that the early Homo sapiens made a 65,000-year-old stone tool in exactly the same shape and using the same template across various sites in southern Africa, the Guardian reported.

Known as a “stone Swiss Army knife,” the multipurpose tool was used for a variety of things, including cutting, drilling and skinning.

Lead author Amy Way explained that because the tools look identical across different sites, it shows that ancient humans had strong communications networks and shared knowledge with each other.

She noted that these artifacts were found on sites that are 1,200 kilometers apart – more than 700 miles.

“One hundred kilometers takes five days to walk, so it’s probably a whole network of groups that (were) mostly in contact with the neighboring group,” Way said.

Way and her team added that the findings also suggest that these long-distance networks existed just before our ancestors decided to migrate in large numbers out of Africa some 60,000 to 70,000 years ago.

“The main theory is that social networks were stronger at this time,” she added. “This analysis shows for the first time that these social connections were in place in southern Africa just before the big exodus.”

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