At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917085535.htm … eight well preserved spears have been found in Germany, 300,000 years of age. These are purported to be the world's oldest weaponry. The finds indicate the people concerned were skilled craftsmen and hunters with a capacity for abstract thought and planning comparable to modern humans, and yet they are thought to be predecessors to the Neanderthals. The site is actually an open cast brown coal mine in Schoningen, and it subject to intensive research as the brown coal itself is dated to 300,000 years ago and it contains all manner of fossils. The bones of large mammals for example, such as elephants, rhinoceros, horses and lions, various reptiles, shells and insects, and the remains of trees (pines, firs, alder) and their leaves, cones, and seeds, as well as the pollen of various herbs and plants. The brown coal deposit has preserved an aurochs (wild cattle) virtually whole, and the remains of a water buffalo in close proximity to the hunting site, but as yet, no humans.
Meanwhile, at www.nature.com/news/studies-slow-the-human-dna-clock-1.11431 – is interesting as it involves the merging of two means of dating early human activity, apparently due to pressure from archaeologists who are dissatisfied with the way the human clock is currently evaluated as it does not tie into the preconceived dating construct, and methodologies. We can see this might have been a source of friction – but conveniently, it is something they failed to inform the general public. Was there an issue with DNA testing contradicting the most popular dating methods used by archaeologists (and presumably by geologists too). Why is the error deemed to be in DNA testing and not in the other sciences? It seems the mutation rate has had a fairly big chop – it has been halved (or slowed down by half). This means that human bones will be redated much older than currently – twice as old. Hence, Neanderthals emerged 600,000 years ago rather than between 270,000 and 450,000 years ago – a big step. Expect a lot of confusing dates in upcoming literature, and rewrites of textbook information. However, we may expect this revised mutation rate is not going to please everyone.