Anthropology students are showing off a million-year-old discovery after ancient artifacts from Kenya turn up in an MSU basement.
The hand axes were made by early human ancestors and are examples of some of the oldest tool types.
They used to belong to famous paleoanthropologist Louis S.B. Leakey who, according to adjunct professor of anthropology Nancy Mahoney, "changed the way we understand human origins."
Leakey sent the artifacts to Montana back in the fifties for special stone dating.
Two anthropology students researched how the stone tools came to the department's teaching collection as part of an independent research course.
"She was giving the lecture when she passed around the stone tool and I was shaking when I held it because I couldn't imagine. This was created over a million years ago and the person who made it and intended to use it looked completely different than I did and thought completely differently and it just fascinated me," says anthropology student Betsy Garten.
Anthropology student Meghan Forney says she is also grateful for the experience.
"It definitely gave me access, first of all, to play with real stuff. It's not very often, especially as an undergraduate, that you actually get to touch history and be a part of figuring our where this stuff came from."
Professor Mahoney says she's hoping others who visit the exhibit will get as much out of it as her students did.
"I hope other people feel the excitement of seeing some artifacts that weren't even made by modern human hands, that were made by some of our ancestors...Look at the actual representations of the fossils and the reconstructions and get a sense of this amazing antiquity, what has gone into evolution of humans and the understanding that archeologists have from it," says Mahoney.
The exhibit will be on display at MSU's Renne Library until April 6th.