Did Early Humans Go Through a Bone Age

Recently scientists found that early humans in Africa used animal bones in order to craft weapons and tools. All of this dates back some 90,000 years. Knives and spears fashioned out of animal ribs were found. Up until this point scientists only found simpler tools fashioned for cutting.

The remains come from people of the Aterian culture which lived in Africa some 145,000 years ago. They started using bone tools when they realized the benefits and the abundance of seafood and fish available at the time. This told scientists that early humans started planning ahead and organizing hunts much earlier than previously assumed.

The particular knife was found in Dar es-Soltan 1, a cave located near the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The team that found the tool was led by geo-archeologist Abdeljalli Bouzouggar and anthropologist Silvia Bello. The knife was found during excavations performed during 2012. The base and the broken off tip were logged in sediment that was 90,000 years old.

Scientists theorize that the early humans that created the knife first took apart the animal’s rib cage. They speculate the rib cage was from a cattle-like animal. They then took one of the ribs and cut it in half lengthwise. The toolmakers than finely worked the ribs until they came up with a shape that resembled a knife, chipping and scraping at the bone. The end product was a 13-centimeter bone blade. The tool had to be made very carefully, and the craftsman that created this tool had to be highly skilled. Judging by the size and damage that occurs from use, scientists believe that the blade was used for precise and delicate work, probably something like cutting leather or other materials they used.

Similar to this blade, two others were found at another site in Morocco. Unfortunately, due to the damage on the blade from use and from outside elements, scientists are unable to precisely estimate how old the tools are. Their best guess is that they are close in age to the blade found in Dar es-Soltan 1.

This is not the first time scientists found remains such as this and similar tools have been found before, but this is the first time that scientists were able to give a precise date of creation. Findings like these help us better understand the evolutionary process of humans. Additional finds such as this may even change our entire perspective on early humans and how quickly they adapted and invented new and easier ways to survive. So early humans may not have gone through a Bone Age, but they had a bone period during the Stone Age.


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