Early humans were lashing stone tips to wooden handles to make spears and knives about 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a study in the 16 November issue of Science.
Attaching stone points to handles, or “hafting,” was an important technological advance that made it possible to handle or throw sharp points with much more power and control. Both Neandertals and early Homo sapiens made hafted spear tips, and evidence of this technology is relatively common after about 200,000 to 300,000 years ago.
An international research team has sequenced the Neandertal genome, using pill-sized samples of bone powder from three Neandertal bones found in a cave in Croatia. The results appear in the 7 May issue of the journal Science, which is published by AAAS.