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Oldest evidence of stone-tipped spears found

Posted on Friday, 16 November, 2012 | Comment icon 9 comments | News tip by: questionmark

Image credit: Urville Djasim

Our ancestors used stone-tipped spears to hunt for food more than 200,000 years earlier than thought.

A new discovery in South Africa has turned our knowledge on the development of spear weapons on its head. Jayne Wilkins and colleagues unearthed a hoard of prehistoric stone spear tips at Kathu Pan which date back 500,000 years. The find pushes back the known use of such spears by such a large amount that it appears the weapons were not the invention of modern humans or Neanderthals at all but of our shared ancestor Homo heidelbergensis.

"The spears are evidence for the deep accumulation of hunting behaviours in our lineage," said Wikins. "That early humans had sophisticated cognitive abilities comes as no surprise."

"The hunt for food led hominins to cast the first stone half a million years ago 200,000 years earlier than we thought."

  View: Full article |  Source: New Scientist

  Discuss: View comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Bling on 15 November, 2012, 21:00
Us humans are so clever!
Comment icon #2 Posted by 27vet on 16 November, 2012, 18:27
The San (Bushmen) - the only truly indigenous people in South Africa and Botswana are very skilled trackers and hunters, so it wouldn't surprise me if the first tools came from this region.
Comment icon #3 Posted by coolguy on 17 November, 2012, 4:55
Great find i bet they used this stuff even earlier.
Comment icon #4 Posted by CuriousGreek on 17 November, 2012, 19:12
This is an important finding. We have to learn more about our past.
Comment icon #5 Posted by 27vet on 18 November, 2012, 19:24
This is an important finding. We have to learn more about our past. It would be fascinating to be able to travel back to those times (discretely of course). Maybe we would then be able to determine why savagery still exists in some humans today.
Comment icon #6 Posted by CuriousGreek on 19 November, 2012, 0:18
It would be fascinating to be able to travel back to those times (discretely of course). Maybe we would then be able to determine why savagery still exists in some humans today. That's true, my friend. Sometimes you need to look at the past, to find out why a human being is behaving in such a way.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Bavarian Raven on 19 November, 2012, 15:59
savagery I don't think thats the right word for it. it has always been survival of the fittest/strongest/smartest/most adaptive to change/creative...etc. It's a part of who we are. We did not become the dominant species on this planet by being all nice and kind and caring, etc... Cheers.
Comment icon #8 Posted by wolfknight on 19 November, 2012, 16:17
It was savage time back then. Eat or be eaten. No 7-11's around the corner. You hunted to survive and to protect what was yours. Put you back against a wall and all of would savages again.
Comment icon #9 Posted by jmccr8 on 21 November, 2012, 12:51
Hi Questionmark, Thanks for letting me know,I looked in on this thread yesterday after you linked me to it but didn't have time to say thanks yesterday.I find thse ancestors of man interesting,and wonder what other social developments occurred that may have carried on to both Neandertal and Hss lines. jmccr8

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