And scientists believe there may be even older tools at the site — in Shangchen, in Shaanxi province’s Lantian county — that can’t be accessed because of farming in the area.
A magnetic reversal that occurred between 1.26 million and 2.12 million years ago is evident in a stone discovered at the Shangchen site, the paper states
Before Zhu and his team’s discovery, the earliest concrete signs of human life outside the African continent were in Dmanisi, Georgia. These included skeletal remains and stone tools, leaving little doubt about the validity of the findings.
Though the China dig did not turn up human remains, the conditions on the site are unlikely to have caused a false positive. There are no ancient rivers in the area which could have naturally produced the types of shaped stones found, and no alternative hypothesis has been put forward about how the rocks could have been formed, the Nature review states.
What remains a mystery is the identity of the people who created the objects. Without skeletal remains, it is difficult to accurately link the tools to Homo erectus or another species of early human.