Topic ID #24769 - posted 11/16/2012 2:10 AM

Archaeologists Identify Spear Tips Used in Hunting a Half-Million Years Ago



Jennifer Palmer

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Archaeologists Identify Spear Tips Used in Hunting a Half-Million Years Ago

ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2012) — A University of Toronto-led team of anthropologists has found evidence that human ancestors used stone-tipped weapons for hunting 500,000 years ago -- 200,000 years earlier than previously thought.

"This changes the way we think about early human adaptations and capacities before the origin of our own species," says Jayne Wilkins, a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and lead author of a new study in Science. "Although both Neandertals and humans used stone-tipped spears, this is the first evidence that the technology originated prior to or near the divergence of these two species," says Wilkins.

Attaching stone points to spears -- known as 'hafting' -- was an important advance in hunting weaponry for early humans. Hafted tools require more effort and foreplanning to manufacture, but a sharp stone point on the end of a spear can increase its killing power.


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