(ORDO NEWS) — The 40,000-year-old rocks and bones that archaeologist Fa-Gan Wang and his colleagues recently discovered at Xiamabei, China, are unlike anything archaeologists have seen before.
People who lived in Xiamabei, in the Niwehan Basin in northern China, used a set of tools consisting mainly of tiny “blades” (small sharp pieces of stone) often impaled on bone handles.
Judging by the microscopic signs of wear on the tools, the Shamabei people seem to have used the same pebbles for everything from scraping hides and butchering meat to drilling wood and hewing softer plant matter.
Nearly every one of the 382 stone tools found at Shamabei is less than four centimeters long; making and using these small blades would have enabled early humans to do more work with less material.
Wang and his colleagues found one “blade” with part of a bone handle. On several of the 17 other instruments that the researchers carefully examined for microscopic signs of wear, they found tiny scratches left by bone instruments, as well as imprints of plant fibers used to hold the instrument together.
The result, according to Wang and his colleagues, was a “complex technical system” completely different from that used at that time by other groups of people – be it Homo sapiens, Neanderthals or Denisovans.
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