Archaeologists have found a tool that was ahead of its time by 100 thousand years

Archaeologists have found a tool that was ahead of its time by 100 thousand years
Archaeologists have found a tool that was ahead of its time by 100 thousand years

Researchers from the University of Colorado in Boulder (USA) have announced the identification of a record large set of ancient bone tools, which consists of almost a hundred different tools about 400 thousand years old. One of them excited scientists, since it had no analogues for 100 thousand years.

The research is published in the journal PLOS ONE and is briefly covered by In a new study, archaeologist Paola Villa and her colleagues examined tools found in Italy. Excavations have been carried out for decades at a place called Castel de Guido, near Rome.

A huge number of elephant bones were found here. Until now, scientists believed that a huge ancient cemetery of these animals was located here. However, in the new work, archaeologists write that the ancient predecessors of people created a real workshop here for the production of various ivory tools.

As part of the study, an unprecedentedly large set of 98 bone instruments was identified, the age of which is approximately 400 thousand years. This means that the remains of elephants were not used by people for the production of primitive tools, since modern man, according to the official version, appeared in Europe only about 40 thousand years ago.

Scientists are inclined to believe that the workshop was organized by the Neanderthals right in the animal cemetery. The study found that some of the tools were manufactured "using sophisticated methods" and technologies that only became common after 100,000 years.

"We know of other places in the world where sets of bone tools have been found," Villa says. "But nowhere else is there such a variety of well-defined shapes."

The analysis showed that the ancient tools found were made from the bones of the ancestors of modern elephants. They belonged to the species Palaeoloxodon antiquus, their distinctive feature was straight tusks. There is an assumption that elephants came to this place to drink and quench their thirst at the risk of their lives. Probably, sometimes they died in swampy soil.

The Hominids clearly knew their business well. All indications are that they produced their tools using a standardized approach. Scientists say it reminds them a bit of a one-man job on a primitive assembly line.

"In Castel di Guido, people routinely broke the long bones of elephants and produced standard blanks for making bone tools," explains Villa. "Such abilities became commonplace much later."

The rich toolbox represented a wide range of useful items. Some tools were sharpened and could theoretically be used for cutting meat, while others were wedge-shaped. Perhaps, with their help, hominids split the heavy elephant thighs.

But the most interesting one turned out to be one tool that is strikingly different from the rest. It is reported that this is the only artifact carved from the bone not of an elephant, but of another animal, probably a bison. It is very long and polished on one side.

This tool resembles what archaeologists call a lissoir - such a sleek tool the hominids used to work their skin. But the most curious thing: until now it was believed that lissoirs appeared and became widespread only about 300 thousand years ago. That is, the artifact found was not just older, it had no analogues for 100 thousand years.

Therefore, scientists say that something special happened on the Italian site in ancient times. At the same time, Villa does not believe that the hominids from Castel di Guido were smarter than their counterparts from other parts of Europe. They probably just used the resources that they had more efficiently than others. There are not many large pieces of flint in this region of Italy. Therefore, in ancient times, local residents did not have the opportunity to make many stone tools, replacing them with bone ones.

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