Evidence continues to mount that the Neandertals, who resided in Europe and Asia until about 40,000 years earlier, were more advanced individuals than once believed. A brand-new study from UC Davis reveals that Neandertals picked to utilize bones from particular animals to make a tool for particular purpose: working hides into leather.
Naomi Martisius, research study associate in the Department of Anthropology, studied Neandertal tools from sites in southern France for her doctoral research study. The Neandertals left behind a tool called a lissoir, a piece of animal rib with a smoothed pointer used to rub animal hides to make them into leather. These lissoirs are typically worn so smooth that it’s difficult to tell which animal they originated from simply by looking at them.
Martisius and associates utilized highly sensitive mass spectrometry to take a look at residues of collagen protein from the bones. The technique is called ZooMS, or zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry. The strategy separates samples into fragments that can be identified by their mass to charge ratio and used to reconstruct the original particle.
Normally, this method would involve drilling a sample from the bone To avoid damaging the precious specimens, Martisius and associates had the ability to lift samples from the plastic containers in which the bones had been stored and recover sufficient product to carry out an analysis.
Preferring bovine ribs over deer
The results show that the bones utilized to make lissoirs mostly came from animals in the livestock family, such as bison or aurochs (a wild relative of contemporary cattle that is now extinct). The Neandertals were selecting to utilize just ribs from certain types of animals to make these tools.
” I believe this reveals that Neandertals actually understood what they were doing,” Martisius stated. “They were intentionally picking up these larger ribs when they happened to come across these animals while searching and they might have even kept these rib tools for a long time, like we would with a favorite wrench or screwdriver.”
Bovine ribs are larger and more rigid than deer ribs, making them much better matched for the hard work of rubbing skins without wearing out or breaking.
” Neandertals understood that for a particular task, they required a really specific tool They found what worked finest and sought it out when it was offered,” Martisius stated.
The outcomes were released May 8 in Scientific Reports
Naomi L. Martisius et al, Non-destructive ZooMS recognition reveals strategic bone tool raw material selection by Neandertals, Scientific Reports(2020). DOI: 10.1038/ s41598-020-64358- w
Neandertals were picky about making bone tools (2020, May 8).
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