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Archaeology: 120,000 years ago, homo sapiens already made clothes

An international team made up of researchers from the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University and the Pan-African Evolution Research Group “Lise Meitner” from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI- SHH) discovered a 120,000-year-old animal bone tool in Morocco.

The discovery takes place in the Smugglers Cave, near the Atlantic coast of Morocco, reports The National News . “The bone tools in the Smugglers’ Cave demonstrate that around 120,000 years ago, Homo sapiens began to intensify the use of bone to make formal tools and use them for specific tasks, including work. leather and fur, ”said study researcher Dr. Emily Hallett. This versatility seems to be at the root of our species and not a characteristic that emerged after the expansions in Eurasia. « 

She identified a pattern of cut marks on the bones of carnivores. According to her, the occupants of the cave skinned these bones for fur rather than turning them into meat. According to experts, the manufacture of clothes and the tools necessary to create clothes and shoes are milestones in the history of mankind, which makes it possible to discover the advances made by people in cultural and cognitive evolution. They believe that the clothes and tools used to make them were essential in enabling people to expand their niche from Pleistocene Africa to new environments that brought new ecological challenges.

Comparing the tools she identified with others in the archaeological records, Dr Hallett found that they had the same shapes and markings as the leather tools described by other researchers. « The combination of carnivore bones with skin marks and bone tools likely used for fur processing provides very suggestive indirect evidence for the earliest garments in the archaeological records, » she said. But given the level of specialization of this assemblage, these tools are likely part of a larger tradition with earlier examples that have yet to be found. « 

The researchers made another discovery, that of the tip of a whale or dolphin tooth that was compatible with use as a pressure flaker, a device used to shape stone tools. This is the first documented use of a marine mammal tooth by humans and the rest of the only Pleistocene marine mammal in North Africa.

Par Jules Bercy

A writer a blogger passionate about science, history politics, the general knowledge of our planet and the Universe...

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