Early humans deliberately made mysterious stone 'spheroids'

According to a research released on Wednesday, 1.4 million years ago, the earliest known human ancestors purposefully shaped stones into spheres. It is unknown, though, what the prehistoric people utilized the balls for.

What exactly made the tennis ball-sized "spheroids" is a topic of much discussion among archaeologists.

Were these the unintentional result of early hominins continuously slamming the stones like antiquated hammers, or did they deliberately chip away at them in an attempt to create a flawless sphere?

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's latest research indicates that our forebears were skilled at what they were doing.

The scientists looked at 150 limestone spheroids from the 'Ubeidiya archaeological site, located in the northern region of present-day Israel, that date back 1.4 million years.

The researchers concluded that the sphericalness of the stones was "likely to have been produced intentionally" after reconstructing their geometry using 3D analysis.

They claimed that the early hominins had "attempted to achieve the Platonic ideal of a sphere," albeit it is unclear exactly which human branch they belonged to.

The stones did not become smoother throughout the creation of the spheroids, but they did grow "markedly more

spherical," according to the study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The research stated that although pebbles in a river or stream might be smoothed by nature, "they almost never approach a truly spherical shape," which is why this is significant.

Without being involved in the study, Julia Cabanas, an archaeologist at France's Natural History Museum, told AFP that this indicates the hominins had a "mentally preconceived" notion of what they were doing.

This suggests that our prehistoric ancestors have the mental ability to organize and complete such tasks.

Cabanas stated that additional spheroids may be treated with the same method. For instance, it could provide insight into the earliest known spheroids, discovered in Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge and dating back two million years.

However, it is still unclear why our ancestors took the time and effort to create spheres.

There are suggestions that suggest hominins were attempting to create a tool that could crush up vegetation or remove marrow from bones.

According to some experts, the spheroids could have served as missiles or had symbolic or aesthetic significance.

"Any theory could be true," stated Cabanes.

We're not going to find out the answer for sure.