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Who Needs a Fancy Knife?

Left, marks on bone provide evidence of Earth’s first “butchers” — who lived some 3.4 million years ago. In a paper published in the August 12 issue of Nature, a multinational team of researchers argue that microscopic examination of large ungulate bones found in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia reveals markings likely made by stone tools — from someone (something?) scraping meat from bone and cracking the bone to get at the marrow inside. If they are interpreting the evidence correctly — and, of course, there are dissenters —  it means protohumans (in this case, Austraolopithecus afarensis, the same species as the famous Lucy) were using stone tools some 800,000 years earlier than previously thought.

On a related note: Top Chef Restaurant Wars episode tonight!

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