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A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Stone Tool Workshop Unearthed in Tibet

Thursday, November 29, 2018

high altitude toolsBEIJING, CHINA—Cosmos Magazine reports that a team of researchers led by Xiaoling Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has unearthed a 30,000-year-old stone tool workshop in central Tibet—some 15,000 feet above sea level. Evidence from the site, known as Nwya Devu, suggests humans were able to survive at the area's extremely high altitude at least 15,000 years earlier than previously thought. The researchers suspect the toolmakers were hunters who followed herds of gazelles, horses, yaks, and maybe even woolly rhinoceroses to the Tibetan Plateau, and speculate that Denisovan genetic material may have contributed to their ability to adapt to the harsh environment. The types of tool technologies at the site also point to interactions between early Tibetans and people living in Siberia and Mongolia. To read in-depth about research into people's ability to live at high altitude, go to “The Heights We Go To.”

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