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500,000-year-old stone tools discovered in Israel

Jerusalem: Israeli archaeologists have announced the discovery of half-million-year-old stone tools that suggest that the cognitive capabilities of the hominids who crafted them were much more similar to our own than previously thought.

Dubbed a kind of stone-age Swiss Army knife by one of the archaeologists working on the site, many of the objects found were flint hand axes, among other tools, Efe news reported.

“The carving of these pieces requires a conceptual leap that allowed them to imagine the desired tool before starting to shape it,” said Ran Barkai, the head of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University, emphasizing that this was the key to the discovery’s importance.

The tools were found in the Israeli Arab town of Jaljulia, located at the edge of the coastal plain near the border with the West Bank.

Excavation’s director Maayan Shemer called the findings (at Jaljulia) “amazing”, highlighting the tools’ technological variety.

Shemer said the investigations can aid scientists in their understanding of Homo erectus, a species of extinct hominid that inhabited the area during the Paleolithic Age.

IANS