Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Stone Tools

  • Michael HaslamEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1533-1



A stone tool is a single, typically moveable piece of rock that is used by an animal to effect a change on its environment. The rock may be modified before use and may be used, either attached or unattached to other objects, as one part of a multicomponent tool system.


Because of their durability and ubiquity in the human archaeological record, stone tools are the central piece of evidence available for the long-term study of human behavior. The earliest known stone implements date back 3.3 million years in Lomekwi, Kenya, and they have been used by human societies up to the present day. The hard surfaces and ability to form a cutting edge that rocks provide have made them invaluable for tasks such as pounding, slicing, scraping, and grinding and for the formation of symbolic objects.

The importance of stone tools to human evolution has increasingly made them a...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dawson Clary
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada