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Javelin found embedded in mammoth's rib

By T.K. Randall
January 21, 2019 · Comment icon 62 comments

Hunting a mammoth would have been no easy task. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Public Library of Science
Researchers have discovered direct evidence that humans actively hunted mammoths with weapons.
While our ancestors were known to have targeted mammoths thousands of years ago, it was never clear exactly how they had managed to bring down such gargantuan beasts.

One theory suggests that they may have chased the animals over the edge of cliffs or in to pits while another highlights the possibility that only sick or dying mammoths were targeted.

Now though, the discovery of a javelin embedded in the rib of a mammoth skeleton unearthed in Poland has provided direct evidence that human hunters actively attacked them with weapons.

The mammoth in question was felled sometime around 25,000 years ago.
"The spear was certainly thrown at the mammoth from a distance, as evidenced by the force with which it stuck into an animal," said archaeologist Piotr Wojtal.

"The blade had to pierce 2cm-thick skin and an 8-cm layer of fat to finally reach the bone."

It is unlikely however that the blow would have been enough to take down the mammoth on its own.

"I believe this is the first find of a weapon embedded in a mammoth bone in Europe," said Adrian Lister from the Natural History Museum in London.

"It is important because it proves beyond reasonable doubt that mammoths were hunted."

Source: Live Science | Comments (62)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #53 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
Read Charles Mann. I'm more than familiar with the Great Dying and the Columbian Exchange. 2/3rds of my people died off in 5 waves of diseases. 3 recorded by the Swedes and South Jersey Quakers. 
Comment icon #54 Posted by Hammerclaw 4 years ago
That was the most recent devastation. It had been going on for a century or more prior. Spanish incursions in the Southeast reported a populous land full of villages and towns with fertile fields everywhere, crisscrossed by well established roads. This was wiped in a generation. The great mound building cultures abandoned their cities to wander and slowly rebuild their numbers only to be taken down again by the next disease. Only nuclear war could ravage human life so completely.
Comment icon #55 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
Since 1492, like the title of Mann's book.  Savannah Island was a trading center with people from as far away as Ontario and Puerto Rico residing and trading there. Diseases wiped that out before the first English settlers. Another group, The Shenks Ferry Culture, a possible Siouian people of Pennsylvannia  died out before contact.  But the "vast wilderness" theory is still well liked in public schools.
Comment icon #56 Posted by Hammerclaw 4 years ago
A European concept. Most of what greeted Europeans on arrival was a human managed landscape. 
Comment icon #57 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
Rutgers still can't reproduce our agro-forestry and land management techniques. Mast trees followed tthe Early Archaic people as they traveled North. Water lotus was carried in by the Meadowood Culture. Maygrass by the Adena-Middlesex, Tomatillos and bottle gourds by the Piedmont Culture.   
Comment icon #58 Posted by hetrodoxly 4 years ago
This video gives us a clue on how efficient  the spear can be, killing the elephant is at about the 4:30 mark, the video comes with a warning it's not very pleasant and might upset some people but this is what our ancestors had to do to survive.  
Comment icon #59 Posted by Hammerclaw 4 years ago
Indians as did most Stone age peoples, groomed the land with fire, spreading grassland and keeping the forests open and park like. Whereever white people went, dense tanglewoods followed, because this practiced ceased.
Comment icon #60 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
You can walk through and camp in the old growth cedar swamps. They are quite a pleasure to wilderness camp in. 3rd and 4th gen swamps are impassable briar patches loaded with poison ivy and greenbriars. But we burned our patch of Piney Woods when we were still allowed. Along with our pasture. 
Comment icon #61 Posted by jmccr8 4 years ago
Hi Piney These people and this site were one of the first I ever looked into and it started a new curiosity about A American history for me. For those that are not familiar with the site, I am just adding this link for photos and other links with the pics. jmccr8
Comment icon #62 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
We pulled a Middle Archaic canoe out of a cedar swamp with a wave breaking prow. The same design used on USCG interceptor boats. Which means the Piedmont Culture had ocean going canoes. Not those hollowed logs seen in Europe.  It's on display at the Cumberland County Prehistory Museum but I don't think the pictures are online yet.   

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