Back dating tools
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science.She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics."The very thin bone points from the Later Stone Age at Border Cave are good evidence for bow and arrow use," Villa said."The work by d' Errico and colleagues [published alongside Villa's group's report in the same journal] shows that the points are very similar in width and thickness to the bone points produced by San culture that occupied the region in prehistoric times, whose people were known to use bows and arrows with poison-tipped bone points as a way to bring down medium and large-sized herbivores." The ancient dates help fill in a continuity gap of human civilization, said study researcher Lucinda Backwell, a researcher in palaeoanthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.Other bones are marked with notches, as if they were used to keep a tally of something.The researchers also found beads, several apparently deliberately blackened by fire, one dating back more than 38,000 years.One long-bone tool is decorated with a spiral incision that was then filled with red-clay pigment.A set of warthog or pig tusks shows signs of grinding and scraping.
In fact, almost nothing is known about what happened in Southern Africa between 40,000 and 20,000 years ago, Villa and his colleagues wrote online today (July 30) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii.
"The dating and analysis of archaeological material discovered at Border Cave in South Africa, has allowed us to demonstrate that many elements of material culture that characterize the lifestyle of San hunter-gatherers in southern Africa, were part of the culture and technology of the inhabitants of this site 44,000 years ago," Backwell said.
It seems plausible that these technologies arose 50,000 to 60,000 years ago in Africa and later spread to Europe, Villa said.