Stone tools just found near the banks of the River Jordan appear to date back two million years, indicating humans passed through the Holy Land some two hundred thousand years earlier than previously believed.
The earliest humans, known as hominids, first appeared in east Africa. Scientists believe they migrated out to the rest of the world through the so-called "Levatine Corridor" of the Middle East on their way to Europe and Asia.
Â"Maybe this is the first time that hominids went to Europe and Asia using the Levantine Corridor as a passageway,Â" said archaeologist Eitan Tchernov.
Two million years ago the crude knives and scrapers they laboriously chipped from stone into simple shapes were high tech. They were about all the early wanderers had to obtain food and shelter, or for defense.
Archeological finds show the Jordan River Valley provided the sustenance needed to get past the deserts. The tools were found among the bones of an ancient elephant. One of our hungry forebears lost it while scavenging the carcass for meat.
Elephant meat may not quite have been the milk and honey that the Holy Land is famous for, but it was apparently good enough to help start humankind's long journey from Africa to all the corners of the earth.
Reported by Jesse Schulman
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