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The ancestors of modern man Homo sapiens seem to have been enthusiastic big-game hunters: 380,000 years ago, in what is now Bilzingsleben in the north of the Thuringian Basin, they hunted the elephants and rhinos that lived there at the time, and about 320,000 years ago, hunters in what is now eastern Lower Saxony hunted mainly horses, as finds from Schöningen show. They probably killed the hoofed animals with weapons whose shape is strikingly similar to today’s competition spears. Seven perfect spears, up to 250 centimeters long and made entirely of wood, were unearthed during excavations led by Jordi Serangeli of the University of Tübingen. Only now is it becoming clear that this hunting method already had a long history behind it. As early as 500,000 years ago, people in southern Africa were hunting big game with spears. This is reported by Jayne Wilkins of the University of Toronto and her colleagues in the scientific journal “Science” (Volume 338, Page 942). Unlike the wooden weapons of Schöningen, however, the African spears had stone tips. During excavations 4.5 kilometers northwest of the city of Kathu in northern South Africa, the researchers had noticed several hundred tips made of banded ironstone, on average seven centimeters long. The stones were elaborately worked and lay in a layer that is about half a million years old. The craftsmen should therefore have belonged to the species Homo erectus, from which both modern man Homo sapiens and the Neanderthals evolved. The scientists quickly realized that these points were of little use as knives or scrapers. With some of them however at the broad end stone splinters were in such a way cut off that one could connect the stone at this place well with a shaft from wood. Should the researchers have found the tips of spears, with which Homo erectus pursued big game at that time? This would be the oldest evidence of spears made of two different materials that researchers have found so far. Until now, they had only known such tools from an epoch 200,000 years younger. In order to test this idea in practice, the researchers cut 32 similar points from the banded ironstone that was abundant in the area. With the help of acacia resin and animal sinew, they attached them to logs of a few centimeters in diameter. The simple spears thus obtained could well have resembled the hunting weapons of half a million years ago, the scientists believe – and started a series of experiments. Findings. The presumed spearheads made of stone, crafted about 500,000 years ago. However, modern archaeologists probably cannot compete in spear throwing with accomplished Stone Age hunters. On top of that, natural scientists attach great importance to uniform experimental conditions, which can hardly be maintained if the spears are hurled by hand. Therefore, the researchers always shot their model spears with a crossbow at carcasses of springboks with the same force. The tips penetrated well into the flesh of the dead animals and usually survived the procedure undamaged, Wilkins and colleagues report. So not only were Stone Age hunters able to successfully hunt big game with such spears, they were able to use their intricately assembled implements multiple times. “Only in two attempts did the tips shatter so badly that we could no longer use them,” the archaeologists write. The other tips showed small cracks only after quite a few shots at the springbok carcasses, which the researchers had also noticed in some of the spear points from the Stone Age. Obviously, the hunters half a million years ago had successfully hurled their spears at living big game. After all, the Stone Age hunters were unlikely to have bothered with throws at already dead animals like the researchers of the 21st century. Home page Premium content

  • Steinspitze and Lechtal AlpsPhoto: Hartmut Wimmer, Outdooractive Editorial Team

m 2000 1500 1000 500 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km medium Distance 14.7 km 8:03 h 1,545 hm 1,545 hm 2,390 hm 994 hm The mountain tour with easy climbing sections to the Hintere Jungfrauenspitze and on to the Steinspitze scores with impressive panoramas of the Lechtal Alps. The tour to the Hintere Jungfrauenspitze and further to the Steinspitze in the Hornbach chain starts in the small community of Häselgehr in the Lechtal. We first walk, past the Doser waterfall, through the high forest to the Haglertal hut and continue through the Haglertal valley to just below the Luxnacher saddle. Here we dive into an alpine world and climb in easy climbing (II) over a rope-secured path to the Hintere Jungfrauenspitze. We continue through the Gliegerkar to the Steinspitze, where again a fantastic panorama of the Lechtal Alps awaits us. For the tour you need surefootedness, a head for heights and sometimes a sense for wayfinding, since especially the approach to the Hintere Jungfrauenspitze takes place over little marked paths. Premium Content Premium tours are published by professional authors or specialist publishers. Publisher Outdooractive Premium We are a team of passionate athletes, nature lovers and photographers – outdoor is our passion and our element. We invite you as Pro+ users to follow us on our expeditions. In this channel we share our personal recommendations with you and give you all relevant information about our tours. With Outdooractive Premium Tours, we provide you with our highest quality content: accurate tracks, authentic descriptions and expressive images. All premium tours can be saved offline and the tracks downloaded. Author Hartmut Wimmer True to my motto. “Only on new paths you leave visible traces” I am a passionate tourer and explorer. I love being in the mountains, no matter what the activity. I am the founder and managing director of Outdooractive, so I have made my hobby my profession and can spend all my time with my passion. By the way, we are always looking for reinforcement for our Outdooractive team, maybe your future job is here: Saturday And Sunday Jobs Near Me.

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