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I like seeing that process in action over specific claims, especially when the claim itself is interesting.
One such interesting question is, what was the earliest human presence in the Americas?
The results of a study just published (see references below) shows how incredibly dense stone artifacts can be in some places in Africa.
And this only included what was visible on the surface. This shows the rocky landscape of southern Libya and the artifacts that are found in high abundance.
Figure C of the supplemental material from the paper by Foley RA, Lahr MM (2015) Lithic Landscapes: Early Human Impact from Stone Tool Production on the Central Saharan Environment. The researchers surveyed other published estimates of stone-tool densities in other areas of Africa.
Any question about first or earliest is always tentative in paleontology.
It simply refers to our current evidence, but it is statistically unlikely that we will have found the literal earliest example of a species or an occupation.