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Along with being among the earliest possible bipedal primates, it has also been thought to be closely related to the genus Homo (which includes the modern human species Homo sapiens), either as a direct ancestor or indirectly through an unknown earlier ancestor.
Scientists suggest that these same beds may include evidence of the long-sought transition from the more primitive Oldowan stone tools to the appearance of the more advanced Acheulean tools.
Recent research at Olduvai has focused primarily on earlier beds, so research on these later beds will likely present new data to consider.
Four key previously excavated sites will be investigated through full-scale excavation.
GFDL CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons A handaxe from Olduvai Gorge, over 1 million years old.
This stone tool is most often associated with Homo erectus, a hominin considered by many scientists to be a possible human (Homo) ancestor.