The first stone culture known until present is Oldowan, first discovered at the same time than Homo habilis, but then dated as back as 2.6 Ma (thus predating the first appearance of Homo by at least 200 ka).
The first Oldowan stone stools show that their makers already had considerable abilities, a reason why it has been hypothesized that some previous stone tool culture may have existed. In addition, cut-marked bone as old as 3.39 Ma have also been found (in Dikkika, Ethiopia).
In Lomekwi 3, a 3.3 Ma archaeological site in northern Kenya, Harmand & al. (2015) discovered Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment next to stone artefacts showing “combined core reduction with battering activities”, what has been qualified as ‘Lomekwian’, the first stone tool culture, thus predating Oldowan by 700 ka.
- Sonia Harmand, Jason E. Lewis, Craig S. Feibel, Christopher J. Lepre, Sandrine Prat, Arnaud Lenoble, Xavier Boës, Rhonda L. Quinn, Michel Brenet, Adrian Arroyo, Nicholas Taylor, Sophie Clément, Guillaume Daver, Jean-Philip Brugal, Louise Leakey, Richard A. Mortlock, James D. Wright, Sammy Lokorodi, Christopher Kirwa, Dennis V. Kent & Hélène Roche. 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya. Nature 521,310–315 (21 May 2015), doi:10.1038/nature14464