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Neanderthals made their own stone tools


A study of bone tools found in France suggest that Neanderthals were capable of making their own stone tools without the help of modern humans.

The team says there’s little doubt that Neandertals made the bone tools, because both sites also feature stone tools typical of Neandertal culture—such as handheld axs and a distinctive knife—and show no evidence of modern human occupation at any time. As for the possibility that Neandertals learned this skill from modern humans, the archaeologists say that the dates from the sites make this very unlikely. Radiocarbon analysis of the archaeological layers where the bones were found at Abri Peyrony range from nearly 48,000 to 41,000 years ago, thus beginning before the earliest known modern human occupation of Western Europe; and dates from Pech-de-l’Azé, determined by a sophisticated technique called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), clock in at about 51,000 years ago, “well before our current best evidence for moderns in Europe,” McPherron says.

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Story: Michael Balter, Science Now | Photo: Abri Peyrony & Pech-de-l’Azé I Projects

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