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Oldest-known spear tips found in South Africa

Researchers in South Africa have discovered stone spear tips that date back 500,000, making them the oldest-known spear tips in the world.

Human ancestors were regularly killing game by 780,000 years ago in the Middle East, as evidenced by remains of butchered deer carcasses. Until now, the earliest stone spear tips came from a Neandertal site in France dating to between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago. Wooden spears from 400,000 years ago have been found among the remains of butchered horses in Germany.

Wilkins’ team determined an approximate age for the Kathu Pan 1 discoveries using a soil analysis method that estimates the time since artifacts were buried.

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Story: Bruce Bower, ScienceNews | Photo: J. Wilkins

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