Skip to comments.400,000 year old spears found in an German coal mine!
Posted on 10/11/2010 6:38:35 AM PDT by Red Badger
Researchers in Germany have unearthed 400,000 year old wooden spears from what appears to be an ancient lake shore hunting ground stunning evidence that human ancestors systematically hunted big game much earlier than believed. The three spears, each carved from the trunk of a spruce tree, are 6 feet to more than 7 feet long. They were found with more than 10,000 animal bones, mostly from horses, including many obviously butchered. That indicates the ancient hunters were organized enough to trap horses and strong enough to kill them by throwing spears, perhaps ambushing herds that showed up for water.
Theres no question if you are hunting a group of horses coming along a lake, you must be strong. You have to plan it. You have to organize it, said archeologist Hartmut Thieme, whose crew made the discovery. The spears, found as researchers worked one step ahead of an expanding coal mine, skewer the idea that humans at that time depended on scavenging and foraging, experts said. What its telling us is these people were very sophisticated, competent hunters, said Robin Dennell, a professor of prehistory at the University of Sheffield in England. They were perfectly capable of long-term planning and foresight. And they must have been awfully strong, far stronger than I am. Those spears are longer than I am.
Before the new find, there had been some evidence of systematic hunting about 200,000 years ago. The spears are twice that old. In addition, some researchers have argued that such hunting didnt truly begin until about 40,000 years ago. Thieme, who works for the state of Lower Saxony in Germany, reported his crews discoveries last week in the journal Nature. He and colleagues had found the spears in 1995 near Schoeningen, about 60 miles southeast of Hanover. Since the Nature paper was written, his crew has come across pieces of a fourth spear. The spears were obviously made with care. After chopping down an appropriate tree and stripping off the bark and branches, the ancient hunters carved the tip at the base of the trunk, where the wood is hardest.
The spears were shaped to be thickest toward the front with a long tapering tail, like modern javelins, which suggests they were meant for throwing rather than jabbing. After all that work theyre not going to throw it at a squirrel in a dark night, said Dennell, who wrote a Nature commentary on the spears. These people were serious about hunting.
Frank Herrold, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Arlington , said the spears will have to be studied further to establish that they were really meant to be thrown. The hunters, called archaic Homo sapiens or Homo heidelbergensis, were distant ancestors of Neanderthals. They hunted in a cool climate like that of central Norway today. They sought game in a landscape of large meadows with spruce and birch trees. A few of their spears were preserved over the eons because they were waterlogged , a rare stroke of luck, noted F. Clark Howell, emeritus professor of paleoanthropology at the University of California at Berkeley
This finding demonstrates what a few people have guessed at . . . that were dealing with a hunting people, that hunting is an important part of their lives, he said.
Radiocarbon dating has confirmed that three wooden spears found in a coal mine in Schöningen, near Hannover, Germany, are the oldest complete hunting weapons ever found. Some 380,000 to 400,000 years old, the six- to 7.5-foot javelins were found in soil whose acids had been neutralized by a high concentration of chalk near the coal pit.
And what about this?
Thousands of pieces of horse, elephant, and deer bone were also found at Schöningen. The bones showed cut marks from stone flints found with grooved wooden tools that probably held the flints. If Thieme can prove the flints were hafted in the wooden tools, they will be the oldest known composite tools in the world.
This is also strange!
The Clacton lance tip suggested that people may have been hunting; the three spears from Schöningen now make it fairly certain that they were not merely scavenger-gatherers. That early man hunted big game is supported by the recent discovery of a fossilized rhinoceros shoulder blade with a projectile wound at Boxgrove, England, dated to 500,000 years ago.
The modern horse is much larger than its ancestors thanks to controlled breeding by humans who liked big horses.
Even today killing and butchering a zebra is not without effort, although if you use a firearm it cuts out a lot of the preliminary stuff.
in school we butchered an elk using stone tools, much tougher than using my Kershaws but knowing the connection of the muscles we could minimize the heavy cutting and we used pressure flaked chips much more than handaxes.
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Only 394,000 years before God created the Universe.....
LOL!......Yeah, like chasing down the wounded animal for miles..............
More “scientists” with over-active imaginations.
"Brawny, brainy, armed with cutting-edge technology--this was the hominid hero Hollywood would have cast in the role, a picture-perfect pioneer. Too perfect, it turns out. Over the past few years, researchers working at a site called Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia have unearthed a trove of spectacularly well preserved human fossils, stone tools and animal remains dated to around 1.75 million years ago--nearly half a million years older than the 'Ubeidiya remains."
With our lack of insulating fur and our watery, cooling sweat a naked human can run a bunny into heat exhaustion.
How do they know they weren’t fishing poles, barbecue spits, or poles in a carrying rig, or Clampett pot passers?
Not to mention making the spears. 0.o
So, are we saying that humans appeared on the scene with more than an apelike intelligence?
I dunno, i just saw video of a guy killing an elk with a spear. (shrug) What do they mean by "strong"?
The three spears, each carved from the trunk of a spruce tree, are 6 feet to more than 7 feet long. They were found with more than 10,000 animal bones, mostly from horses, including many obviously butchered.
They didn't find an ancient Bass ProShop nearby?...............
The fact they had carefully prepared wooden spears shows they actively hunted game. Having stone tools merely means they cut meat up before eating it.
One of the strong thesis is that early man didn't hunt. Rather, relying on his smarts he let other animals, e.g. lions, tigers, bears, wolves ~ kill game which he then stole and ate himself!
” if you are hunting a group of horses coming along a lake, you must be strong.You have to plan it. You have to organize it...”
Reminds me of Al Gore and his claims of being a hunter.
Well, you certainly can’t argue with the evidence you produced.
There were OTHERS just recently discovered.
Here's the deal, there've been 21 major glacial periods over the last couple of million years. They are divided up into about 100,000 years of cold and 10,000 years of warmth called Interglacials.
Sometimes there are periods of less than 10,000 years warmth and they are called interstadials.
Human beings are smart. They move North when it's warm and South when it's cold. The result is that humanity gets adapted and readapted over and over and over in broad cycles.
Sometimes groups get left behind and they do a different sort of adaptation. The result is the constant creation and recreation of "the people", until, at last, here we are, prepared to enter the crucible again.
more evidence debunking convenient untruths and explaining things many wish weren’t so obvious
This last year after watching the Winter Olympics I found out what the performance characteristics of well conditioned skiers were. Seems they can go DOWNHILL on the standard courses at about 65 MPH average speed, and UPHILL on the same courses at about 5 MPH. No doubt there are individuals and hills where the actual results vary from these figures but over 50 kilometers, that's what I derived from the race records.
Now that's pretty good and explains something very important ~ cheetas can go faster for a short distance. Reindeer can actually get up to that speed for a good long time. Wolves are much slower (35 MPH tops), and so on.
Turns out a man on skis on snow can outperform every animal that can run on or in snow! But it's not just "outperform", a man can simply go to the top of a hill and ski down into the midst of a herd of animals in a valley and have his take of the herd ~ most likely without breaking a sweat.
I was looking for a reason why human beings could have moved into subarctic regions dominated by wolves and bears, and there it was ~ clear as day ~ people were the top predators! They could move faster than the wolves or bears AND, best of all, take game at a very high percentage of attempts ~ thereby starving out the bears and wolves and leaving the herds to the people!
BTW, I predict that someday they'll find a Neandertal with skis.
Horse - the other white meat!!
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