May 04, 2017 04:21 AM EDT
Two anthropology students under the leadership of Dr. Charles Egeland conduct an undergraduate research project that measures the evolution of skill for ancient animal butchers. According to them, the hunting of large mammals with Stone Age tools shows the earliest interaction of humans with technology.
Per the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UCNG) Now, the student researchers were Robert Sanderford and Kevin Covell. Sanderford is an "amateur" hunter while Covell is an "expert" butcher who previously worked as a professional chef. Both of them meet several times a month to butcher deer legs from the North Carolina Department of Transportation using Stone Age tools.
For his part, Egeland told the same source that to identify the skill level of Stone Age butchers means to look at the "cut marks" or the incisions produced on the surface of the bone. Using replicas of stone tools, the researchers remove soft tissues from the animal as if they will be used for daily consumption. They later took high-resolution digital images of each cutmark cluster for examination.
Furthermore, Egeland noted that if they can determine the differences in incision orientation, they could probably identify the skill levels in archaeological contexts. Eventually, the study will reveal the secrets of ancient animal butchery and human culture. Currently, the conclusion is that novice butchers left very different cut marks on the bones relative to the more experienced butchers.
On the other hand, Nature reported that scientists have finally dated Stone Age rock paintings in South Africa. The study claims that hunter-gatherer people created the drawings at three sites in the region, some 5, 700 years ago. This achievement basically opens the door for archaeologists to date thousands of more rock paintings in Africa that may solve the puzzle for ancient development there.
The researchers focused on samples found in modern-day Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho created by the San people. This group has been studied for a lot of times, but many mysteries remain unanswered. One of the questions asked is how did the Sans interact with other groups like farmers. Here is the official video from UNCG:
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