Unusual bone tools found at Neanderthal site in Europe
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Sophisticated leather-working equipment found in a cave in France offer the first evidence that Neanderthals had more advanced bone tools than early modern humans, researchers said on Monday.
The four fragments of hide-softening bone tools known as lissoirs, or smoothers, were found at two neighboring sites in southwestern France, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Radiocarbon dating shows that the tools with smooth edges and rounded tips - found at the sites of Pech-de-l'Azé I and Abri Peyrony - are about 50,000 years old, said scientists.
That would make them the oldest known bone tools in Europe, having been made and used well before modern humans replaced the Neanderthals some 40,000 years ago, researchers said.