The researchers found that crudely knapped stone choppers made from round rock “cobbles” performed remarkably well for chopping down bamboo. In addition, bamboo knives were efficiently crafted with stone tools. While the knives would easily cut meat, they weren’t effective at cutting animal hides, however, which could have discouraged their use during the Stone Age, say the authors. Some knives made from a softer bamboo species entirely failed to produce and hold a sharp edge.
“The ‘bamboo hypothesis’ has been around for quite awhile, but was always represented simply, as if all bamboo species, and bamboo tool-making were equal,” says Eren, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Our research does not debunk the idea that prehistoric people could have made and used bamboo implements, but instead suggests that upon arriving in East and Southeast Asia they probably did not suddenly start churning out all of their tools on bamboo raw materials either.”
Story: E! Science News | Photo: Yiyuan Li