Breaking News: August 12, 2013: Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe
New finds demonstrate: Neandertals were the first in Europe to make standardized and specialized bone tools - which are still in use today
Two research teams from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands have jointly reported the discovery of Neandertal bone tools coming from their excavations at two neighboring Paleolithic sites in southwest France. The tools are unlike any others previously found in Neandertal sites, but they are similar to a tool type well known from later modern human sites and still in use today by high-end leather workers. This tool, called a lissoir or smoother, is shaped from deer ribs and has a polished tip that, when pushed against a hide, creates softer, burnished and more water resistant leather. The bone tool is still used today by leather workers some 50 thousand years after the Neandertals and the first anatomically modern humans in Europe.
Soressi, M., McPherron, S.P., Lenoir, M., Dogandzic, T., Goldberg, P., Jacobs, Z., Maigrot, Y., Martisius, N.L., Miller, C.E., Rendu, W., Richards, M., Skinner, M.M., Steele, T.E., Talamo, S. and J.P. Texier (2013) Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302730110. Link to PNAS Full Text (Open Access)
Link to Press Release