Humans Used Spears for Hunting 200,000 Years Earlier Than Believed
Human ancestors were making spears to hunt 500,000 years ago – 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, a study has revealed. The collaborative study, published in the journal Science, found the stone-tipped weapons at the South African archaeological site of Kathu Pan 1. Attaching stone points to spears (known as “hafting”) was an important advance in hunting weaponry for early humans. Hafted tools require more effort and foreplanning to manufacture, but a sharp stone point on the end of a spear can increase its killing power.
“There is a reason that modern bow-hunters tip their arrows with razor-sharp edges. These cutting tips are extremely lethal when compared to the effects from a sharpened stick. Early humans learned this fact earlier than previously thought,” Benjamin Schoville, a coauthor of this study affiliated with the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, said. “Although both Neandertals and humans used stone-tipped spears, this is the first evidence that this technology originated prior to or near the divergence of these two species.”