Extraterrestrial stone
[Representative Image] The small stone contains minerals that seem to predate the Sun.Dr Mario di Martino, INAF Osservatorio Astrofysico di Torino

Researchers at Attirampakkam in Tamil Nadu have unearthed a set of ancient stone tools and believe that this discovery could change the way scientists have been looking at the history of technological advances. The stones discovered in India dates to 385,000 years ago.

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This discovery challenges the popular theory that Middle Paleolithic or Stone Age thought to have come to India from Africa around 125,000 years ago. However, the stone tools suggest that it came in India around 385,000 years ago.

In a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, researchers said that they have unearthed over 7,000 stone tools, including advanced sophisticated blades, points and scrapers. The stone tools can help researchers find out the first-time modern humans migrated from Africa.

"At Attirampakkam, the gradual disuse of bifaces, the predominance of small tools, the appearance of distinctive and diverse Levallois flake and point strategies, and the blade component all highlight a notable shift away from the preceding Acheulian large-flake technologies," the authors mentioned in the study.

"These findings document a process of substantial behavioural change that occurred in India at 385 ± 64 ka (kilo annum, thousand years) and establishes its contemporaneity with similar processes recorded in Africa and Europe. This suggests complex interactions between local developments and ongoing global transformations. Together, these observations call for a re-evaluation of models that restrict the origins of Indian Middle Paleolithic culture to the incidence of modern human dispersals after approximately 125 ka."

The tools shed light on the early Middle Paleolithic culture in India, but researchers are yet to identify which human species made these tools because they did not find any bones. 

Shanti Pappu, an archaeologist and co-author of the study, said that the findings could have many implications.

"It has many implications as to how this culture arose in India - whether population from out Africa came much earlier than expected or whether it was a development from within India. This has thrown up a number of new questions," she said, according to The News Minute.

Attirampakkam is a village located near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The village is an archaeological site and was investigated by scholars in the 1930s and 1960s.

Pappu, Dr Kumar Akhilesh, Prof Yanni Gunnell from the University of Lyon, France; Prof Ashok K. Singhvi, Haresh M. Rajapara and Dr. Anil D. Shukla from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, worked together and examined the tools discovered from 1999 to 2004.