Cuts on animal bones show our ancestors hunted two million years ago

Ancient humans DID begin hunting two million years ago as cut marks on animal bones prove they killed creatures for meat rather than having to scavenge from big cats

  • University of San Diego-led experts studied animal bones from Kanjera South
  • This is a two-million-year-old archaeological site located in the west of Kenya
  • The bones — of gazelle and wildebeest — showed signs of being cut by tools
  • It had been unclear, egter, if the prey were killed by humans or big cats
  • The marks were in places where there would have no meat if cats had eaten first
  • Dit, het die span gesê, provides the earliest strong indication for hominin hunting
  • Our distant ancestors had begun hunting by two million years ago — rather than scavenging on the leftovers of carnivores like big cats — a study has found.

    Researchers from the University of San Diego studied animal bones from Kanjera South, an archaeological site near Lake Victoria in western Kenya.

    They found traces of butchery marks on gazelle and wildebeest bones in places where they would only been left if humans were the first to get at the carcasses.

    Die oorblyfsels, het die span gesê, therefore represent some of the oldest strong evidence for hunting among ancient humans.

    Bones with cut marks have been found that date back to around 3.4 million years ago — but it is unclear whether these marks were left by hominins or other animals.

    Our distant ancestors had begun hunting by two million years ago — rather than scavenging on the leftovers of carnivores like big cats — a study has found. Op die foto: examples of percussion notches on a large bovid humerus

    Our distant ancestors had begun hunting by two million years ago — rather than scavenging on the leftovers of carnivores like big cats — a study has found. Op die foto: examples of percussion notches on a large bovid humerus

    OLDOWAN EXPLAINED

    Oldowan (also referred to as Mode I) is the name given to ancient hominin cultures who used a characteristic style of simple stone tool.

    These tools were typically made by chipping a few flakes of one stone by means of hitting it with an other.

    Oldowan tools were in use from around 2.6–1.7 million years ago across much of Africa, Europa, the Middle East and South Asia.

    The name is derived from the site where the first Oldowan tools were discovered back in the 1930s — the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

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    The study was carried out by zooarchaeologist and paleoanthropologist Jennifer Parkinson of the University of San Diego, Kalifornië, and her colleagues.

    ‘The shift to increased meat consumption is one of the major adaptive changes in hominin dietary evolution,’ het die span in hul referaat geskryf.

    ‘Meat eating by Oldowan hominins is well evidenced at Pleistocene archaeological sites in eastern Africa by butchery marks on bones.

    Egter, het hulle voortgegaan, ‘the methods through which carcasses were acquired (i.e., hunting versus scavenging) and extent of their completeness (fleshed versus defleshed) is less certain.

    The animal bones from the Kanjera South site — which, two millennia ago, was open grassland — allowed the researchers a window on these distinctions.

    The bones of gazelle and wildebeest, which were common in the area, have long been known to sport butchery marks.

    Egter, it had previously been unclear whether such were made on prey killed by humans, or if the carcasses had killed by other predators that had either discarded them or been scared off by our ancestors.

    In re-examining the cut marks, the team compared the ancient bones with modern bones that were either experimentally butchered by researchers or that had been consumed by modern carnivores like hyenas.

    They found that the bones of the prey animals from Kanjera South had been butchered in those places that would have most likely already have been stripped clean of flesh had the animals been killed by predators like big cats.

    Dit, het die span gesê, suggests that the ancient humans were the first to have had a crack at the meat — and most likely took down the prey themselves.

    ‘Hominins were not scavenging from felid [big cat] doodmaak, because they were butchering places where there would not be flesh on felid kills,’ Professor Parkinson told the Nuwe wetenskaplike.

    Researchers led from the University of San Diego studied animal bones from Kanjera South, an archaeological site near Lake Victoria in western Kenya. They found traces of butchery marks on various gazelle and wildebeest bones (op die foto) in places where they would only been left if humans were the first to get at the carcasses

    Researchers led from the University of San Diego studied animal bones from Kanjera South, an archaeological site near Lake Victoria in western Kenya. They found traces of butchery marks on various gazelle and wildebeest bones (op die foto) in places where they would only been left if humans were the first to get at the carcasses

    The team compared the marks on the ancient bones (as left) with modern bones that were either consumed by modern carnivores like hyenas (regs bo), experimentally butchered by researchers or a combination of both (onder regs)

    The team compared the marks on the ancient bones (as left) with modern bones that were either consumed by modern carnivores like hyenas (regs bo), experimentally butchered by researchers or a combination of both (onder regs)

    Zooarchaeologist Geoff Smith of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology — who was not involved in the study — told New Scientist that ‘it does provide more evidence for human consumption of meat at this time.

    A few things remain unclear about the hunting activities at Kanjera South, the most obvious of which being that it is not know which hominins lived there, as no human remains have been unearthed at the site.

    ‘We have thousands of stone tools, so we know hominins were there, but they didn’t happen to die there at Kanjera South,’ Professor Parkinson said.

    Egter, vervolg sy, a likely candidate is Homo habilis, whose remains have been found from other sites in the vicinity.

    Paranthropus is another hominin known from the east Africa of the time — but its big back teeth indicate that it likely mostly ate plants, although it is possible that it also had some hunting ability.

    Exactly how the hominins — whoever they were — hunted is also not known. According to Dr Smith, various strategies are conceivable, from ambushes to lobbing wooden spears.

    Die volledige bevindings van die studie is in die tydskrif gepubliseer Quaternary Science Reviews.

    The researchers found that the bones of the prey animals from Kanjera South had been butchered in those places that would have most likely already have been stripped clean of flesh had the animals been killed by predators like big cats

    The researchers found that the bones of the prey animals from Kanjera South had been butchered in those places that would have most likely already have been stripped clean of flesh had the animals been killed by predators like big cats

    WANNEER HET MENSLIKE VOORSTE EERSTE KOM?

    Die tydlyn van menslike evolusie kan miljoene jare teruggevoer word. Kenners meen dat die stamboom so is:

    55 miljoen jaar gelede – Eerste primitiewe primate ontwikkel

    15 miljoen jaar gelede – Hominidae (groot ape) ontwikkel uit die voorouers van die gibbon

    7 miljoen jaar gelede – Die eerste gorilla's ontwikkel. Later, sjimpansee en menslike afstammelinge verskil

    'N Ontspanning van 'n Neanderthaler word op die foto voorgestel

    'N Ontspanning van 'n Neanderthaler word op die foto voorgestel

    5.5 miljoen jaar gelede – Ardipithecus, vroeë 'proto-mens'’ deel eienskappe met sjimpansees en gorilla's

    4 miljoen jaar gelede – Aap soos vroeë mense, die Australopithecines verskyn. Hulle het 'n brein wat nie groter is as 'n sjimpansee nie, maar ander meer menslike eienskappe

    3.9-2.9 miljoen jaar gelede – Australoipithecus afarensis het in Afrika gewoon.

    2.7 miljoen jaar gelede – Paranthropus, het in die bos gewoon en het groot kake gehad om te kou

    2.6 miljoen jaar gelede – Handbyle word die eerste groot tegnologiese innovasie

    2.3 miljoen jaar gelede – Homo habilis het aanvanklik in Afrika verskyn

    1.85 miljoen jaar gelede – Eerste 'modern’ hand kom na vore

    1.8 miljoen jaar gelede – Homo ergaster begin in fossielrekords verskyn

    800,000 jare terug – Vroeë mense beheer vuur en skep vuurherde. Breingrootte neem vinnig toe

    400,000 jaar agO – Neanderthalers begin eers verskyn en versprei oor Europa en Asië

    300,000 aan 200,000 jare terug – Homo sapiens – moderne mense – in Afrika verskyn

    50,000 aan 40,000 jare terug – Moderne mense bereik Europa

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