We already knew and accepted that humans have been using tools for a long time. The question, however, has been when the modern use of tools with organics arrived. A group of researchers have now traced a series of tools found in Border Cave, South Africa, which are remarkably similar to those still in use today by the African San culture, to 44,000 years ago. That predates what many had come to conclude was the true start of modern human behavior by over 20,000 years.
This isn’t even the earliest evidence. There have been some finds as old as 75,000 years ago, but nothing conclusive ever came out of them, whereas the tools from Border Cave have confirmed uses and correlate exceptionally well to modern tools. Speaking with the BBC, Dr. Lucinda Backwell had this to say on the matter:
You can hold [one of the] ancient artefacts in your left hand and a modern artefact in your right and they’re exactly the same. It’s incredible… the functions are very, very clear[.]
Most of this discovery only became possible after sufficient advancement in our own technology. Some of the original find dates back to the 1970s, but could only now become analyzed properly to uncover traces of sap and poison on specific tools. In other words, the people using the tool were applying poison to weapons as early as 44,000 years ago, which is a meaningful discovery: Organics all of a sudden entered the fold and thus modern human behavior.
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