Strange tools from 300 thousand years ago reveal the behavior of Neanderthals

Scientists point out that wooden artifacts, especially those dating back hundreds of thousands of years, are rarely preserved. And this is why The discovery last year of a 476,000-year-old wooden structure caused a huge shock in the scientific world.

In previous years in northern Germany in a geological layer called “Spear Horizon” 187 ancient wooden artefacts were found, most of them spears. The dates indicate an age of about 300,000 years – this is the period when Homo heidelbergensis living in Europe was “replaced” by early Neanderthals.

Thanks to these results, the researchers concluded this The first Neanderthals were not scavengers (as previously suggested), but rather sophisticated hunters. Furthermore, saber-toothed tiger bones that were converted into tools were found in the same geological layer.

The “Spear of the Horizon” was discovered in 1994, and despite the passage of time, all its secrets have not yet been discovered. Now the results of analyzes of all ancient objects discovered up to 2008 have been published.

It turned out that only 20-25 artifacts could be found (out of 187). Hunting weapons. Experts believe that most of the ancient objects were used for “domestic purposes” – they were split wood with pointed or rounded ends. Experts point out that these items are very similar to the tools of “younger” hunter-gatherers, which were used to process animal skins.

Early Neanderthal tools were made mainly of Spruce and pine. Interestingly, none of these trees grew near the former lake where the artifacts were found. It is estimated that Neanderthals would have had to walk several kilometers to obtain the necessary materials.

One of the processes of obtaining the material was to cut down the tree and remove the branches and bark – The spears were made from the tree trunk. Scholars also suggest that some artifacts were handed over recycled – Those elements that no longer perform their previous roles have been transformed into tools for other purposes.

The next process of obtaining materials was to cut the wood from around the base of the spruce trees and create split lumber from it for home use. Researchers emphasize that the complexity of processing operations is a very important point Development of Pleistocene technology.

The scientific article stated: “Growth Technological complexity It has been interpreted as an indicator of cognitive abilities and an increasing reliance on social learning.” Specialists add that early Neanderthals very carefully selected the best types of wood to make their tools, which made the materials difficult to obtain and process.

The results of the research were published in a scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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