Sharp thinking: Earlier human ancestor made stone spear tips 500,000 years ago, study says

Scientists say they've found evidence that stone tips for spears were made much earlier than thought, maybe even created by an earlier ancestor than has been believed.

Both Neanderthals and members of our own species, Homo sapiens, used stone tips, which made more lethal hunting weapons. The new findings suggest that maybe they didn't invent that technology, but inherited it from their last shared ancestor. That would be Homo heidelbergensis (hy-dil-ber-GEN-sis).

The study concluded that a collection of stone tips from South Africa was half-a-million years old. That's 200,000 years older than stone tips found elsewhere.

The work was published Thursday by the journal Science.