Stone Tools Point to Mysterious Neighbor of Flores ‘Hobbit’
The sharp-edged stones were made at least 60,000 years before modern humans reached the island of Sulawesi—but who made them?
Stone tools found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi predate the arrival of modern humans to the area by more than 60,000 years—but researchers aren’t sure who made them.
The perplexing artifacts, announced on Wednesday in Nature, are most likely between 118,000 and 194,000 years old, though some may be even older. The keen-edged flakes of stone were excavated from an ancient river floodplain in southwest Sulawesi, near the present-day village of Talepu. Some even bear telltale signs of being hammered into shape.
But today’s best evidence indicates that modern Homo sapiens didn’t arrive on neighboring islands until about 50,000 years ago, well after the mysterious toolmakers left their wares behind. The find further indicates that some earlier form of human