Early man hunted a variety of game…
And now science has proven just what he killed…
Thanks to how messy our ancestors where.
About 250,000 years ago, Stone Age human relatives butchered a bunch of animals with stone tools and didn’t wash up afterwards. Now scientists have analyzed the gunk crusted to the tools and figured out what was on the menu.
Supper at the former oasis near Azraq, Jordan, at that time could have included beef, duck, horse, camel and rhinoceros, according to an analysis of protein residues on stone tools found at the site.
“We were really excited by the antiquity of the residue,” said April Nowell, an anthropology professor at the University of Victoria and lead author of the research published online today in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
She said the variety of animals butchered there suggests the people using the site had a lot of knowledge about the resources available in the area at different times of year and were socially sophisticated.
“How you hunt or scavenge a rhinoceros will be very different from how you take down a duck, for instance,” she said. “You need a whole slew of different technologies and techniques.”
Newell took part in an archeological dig in the area called Shishan Marsh, which was an oasis in the desert used by many animals and prehistoric humans between 220,000 and 300,000 years ago. Geological and plant-based evidence shows it was originally a lake surrounded by lush vegetation, but over several thousand years became “as arid or more arid than today.”
That made it a “challenging” environment for the Stone Age nomadic hunter-gatherers who used it, Nowell said.
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