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Bones Offer Insight to Neanderthal Hunting Practices

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Germany Neanderthal huntingMAINZ, GERMANY—According to an AFP report, analysis of 120,000-year-old deer bones suggests that Neanderthals used weapons and hunting strategies requiring careful planning, cooperation, and concealment. Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser of Johannes Gutenberg University and her colleagues used microscopic imaging and ballistics experiments to investigate the pronounced damage that had been inflicted on the bones. The tests indicate that at least one of the blows had been made with a wooden spear at low velocity—in other words, the spear most likely had been thrust into the animal from an underhand angle. In fact, similar wooden staves dated to between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago have been found in England and Germany, but scholars were not sure how Neanderthals may have used them. “As far as spear use is concerned, we now finally have the ‘crime scene’ fitting to the proverbial ‘smoking gun,’” Gaudzinski-Windheuser said. To read more about our extinct cousins, go to “A Traditional Neanderthal Home.”

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