65,000-year-old ‘Swiss army knife’ proves ancient people shared knowledge

(ORDO NEWS) — Prehistoric artefacts, made in a similar shape and pattern, are found in huge numbers throughout southern Africa over vast distances.

A 65,000-year-old tool found in southern Africa has given scientists evidence that the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens communicated with each other.

For the first time in the world, a group of international scientists have discovered that early humans across the continent made exactly the same shaped stone tools using the same pattern, indicating that they shared knowledge with each other.

Artifacts, also known as the “Swiss Army Stone Knife” of the prehistoric era, were made in a similar pattern over vast distances, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

65000 year old Swiss army knife proves ancient people shared knowledge study says 2
These tools were made in huge numbers in southern Africa approximately 60-65,000 years ago

According to project lead archaeologist Amy Way of the Australian Museum and the University of Sydney, since all people in southern Africa decided to make tools the same, it suggests that they were socially connected.

“This find is really interesting in that it gives us evidence that there were social bonds between people over long distances, shortly before the great migration out of Africa that all our ancestors participated in,” she said.

The question that really perplexes archaeologists is why the great exodus from Africa, which took place 60-70,000 years ago and involved the ancestors of everyone living outside of Africa today, was so successful, while previous exits beyond the limits of the continent were not successful.

“The underlying theory is that social networks were stronger during this time. This analysis shows for the first time that such social networks existed in southern Africa just before the big exodus,” Way said.

65000 year old Swiss army knife proves ancient people shared knowledge study says 3
This tool was used for a variety of purposes, including cutting, drilling, and skinning

Previous research has shown that in southern Africa these artifacts were used as thorns in hunting techniques, and in Australia, in addition to forming rebar into spears, they were also used to work bone and hide, drill and shape wooden objects.

According to Way, in Africa, they were found at a distance of 1,200 kilometers from each other.

“It takes five days to walk a hundred kilometers, so it’s probably a whole network of groups that are mostly in contact with the neighboring group,” she said.

Another interesting fact about this particular instrument – a reinforced artifact – is that it was made independently by many different groups of people around the world, including here in Australia, Way said.

“I compared some Australian shapes from 5,000 years ago to African shapes from 65,000 years ago – because they can’t be related – to show that all South African tools are in a much larger range of possible shapes,” Way said.

Dr Paloma de la Peña, senior fellow at the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge, says researchers around the world often wonder how human social networks evolved.

“The main theory as to why modern humans supplanted all other humans living outside of Africa around 60-70,000 years ago is that our ancestors were much better at creating social networks than other species, such as Neanderthals, who may have been smarter and stronger as individuals, but weren’t good at sharing information,” de la Peña said.

“It is this abundance of artefacts that speaks to their success in this region at this time, and also highlights that for modern people these social ties did exist shortly before they left Africa.”

It is worth noting that if we discard the assumptions of scientists about the existing “social ties”, which was adjusted to the generally accepted “theory of the history of mankind”, then we can draw a more logical conclusion – some external forces provided groups of people scattered over vast distances from each other with templates for tool making. Simply put – someone taught people what they needed to survive.

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