|JAW DIGGER This 24-centimeter-long hand ax, shown from three angles, is the earliest known bone hand ax from East Asia. Ancient humans used part of a stegadon jaw (left) to make the 170,000-year-old tool.|
People may have dug up roots with shovellike tool
Researchers say they have identified the first example of a bone, not stone, hand ax crafted by ancient humans in East Asia. Makers of the curved, pear-shaped implement probably used it to dig up edible roots in a densely vegetated part of South China around 170,000 years ago, say paleontologist Guangbiao Wei of China Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing and his colleagues.
Part of a lower jaw from a stegodon, a now-extinct, elephant-like creature, provided raw material for the tool, the researchers report January 8 in Quaternary International. The jaw includes a wide, thick piece of curved bone with a grip-ready indentation on its inner surface, the scientists say.
Excavation of a Chinese cave in 2002 yielded the hand ax, along with bones of stegodons and other large animals. Until now, though, the artifact’s age was unknown. Wei’s team dated the find by measuring the decay rate of two forms of uranium in the fossilized bone.
Bone hand axes are rare, even outside East Asia. A handful of such tools previously unearthed in Africa, Europe and West Asia were made from limb bones, ribs and tusks of creatures such as mammoths. Stone hand axes, which preserve far better than bone artifacts, are more numerous and date to 800,000 years ago in South China. Bruce Bower / sciencenews.org / Link 2
Actualización 17-01-15: Protobifaz de hueso con muesca de agarre interior hallado en el suroeste de China con 170.000 años de antigüedad (Vía B&W1)
Importante noticia la que hemos conocido hoy a través de una publicación en Quaternary International; se trata de la datación de una protohacha de mano que fue hallada en el año 2002 en Chongqing, al suroeste de China, realizada a partir de una mandíbula de Estegodonte, especie extinta de la familia de los mamuts y los elefantes que habitaba en Asia durante el pleistoceno. Hacha de mano...