Home » today » Technology » “Neanderthals Used Glue to Craft Stone Tools, Study Finds”

“Neanderthals Used Glue to Craft Stone Tools, Study Finds”

Neanderthals, our ancient relatives, were not only skilled toolmakers but also adept at using glue to craft their stone tools, according to a recent study. A team of researchers discovered a trove of Neanderthal tools dating back between 120,000 and 40,000 years ago that were forged using a complex adhesive made of bitumen and ochre. This finding provides the oldest evidence of such an adhesive in Europe and sheds light on the intelligence and inventiveness of Neanderthals.

The adhesive used by Neanderthals was composed of bitumen, which is an asphalt component found naturally in soil, and ochre, the same material used by both Neanderthals and early modern humans to create artwork on cave walls. When combined, these substances formed a sculptable solid that the Neanderthals applied to their stone tools. The team of researchers studied five stone tools from the Le Moustier site in France, all of which showed traces of ochre. These tools included flakes, a re-touched blade, and a side scraper.

The use of adhesive in toolmaking was a significant development in human cognitive processes. According to Patrick Schmidt, the lead author of the study and an archaeologist at the University of Tübingen, compound adhesives are considered one of the earliest expressions of modern cognitive processes that are still active today. This discovery highlights the intelligence and inventiveness of Neanderthals, as evidenced by their artworks and array of tools.

The adhesive made from bitumen and ochre served as a handle for the stone tools. Microscopic imaging of the tools revealed two types of wear: one indicating that other materials were worked and another indicating that the adhesive itself was worn by use. This suggests that the adhesives were used as handles rather than just joining stone tools to handles. The researchers also noted that the bitumen-ochre mass stuck well to the stone but did not adhere to hands, making it an ideal material for crafting tool handles.

The Neanderthal tools discovered at Le Moustier were made in 1907 but had been in storage since the 1960s. This long period of preservation allowed the organic remains of the adhesive to be well-preserved. Ewa Dutkiewicz, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and Berlin’s Museum of Prehistory and Early History, explained that the adhering remains of organic substances were in excellent condition due to the tools being stored for many years.

This study challenges outdated notions about Neanderthals and provides a more accurate understanding of our ancient relatives. Although Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago, their DNA still persists in most people today, indicating that they were gradually assimilated into Homo sapiens. The discovery of their sophisticated use of glue in toolmaking further emphasizes their intelligence and resourcefulness.

In conclusion, the recent study on Neanderthal tools reveals their advanced craftsmanship and innovative use of glue as an adhesive. The findings provide valuable insights into the cognitive abilities of Neanderthals and challenge outdated stereotypes about them. By using bitumen and ochre to create a sculptable solid, Neanderthals were able to improve the solidity and rigidity of their stone tools. This discovery highlights the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our ancient relatives and deepens our understanding of human evolution.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.