Stone artifacts found by French researchers may be one of the oldest evidences of the use of arrows by anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens). With an estimated age of 54,000 years, the objects have a size and shape that are compatible with the function of a projectile, in addition to marks on the ends that also seem to indicate that they were fired with the help of a bow to hit their target with force.
If the European team’s hypothesis is proven, the discovery will correspond to an important “missing link” in archery technology. Similar evidence previously found in Africa, the birthplace of Homo sapiens, is more than 60,000 years old, but after that arrowheads seem to disappear from the archaeological record for up to tens of millennia.
The new finds in Mandrin Cave, in southeastern France, would be the oldest arrowheads outside the African continent. According to their discoverers, they would indicate that the technique of making these weapons helped human beings with modern anatomy to supplant their archaic cousins, the Neanderthals, who then predominated in Europe and the Middle East.
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