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One day in 2011, the student Naomi Martisius was classifying small skeletal remains in the University of California, in the lab when he stumbled upon a very peculiar piece. The fragment of that bone came from an archaeological site located in France. The piece turned out to be a part of a specialized bone tool used by Neanderthals before the first modern humans appeared in Europe.
Martisius stated that "At the time, I had no idea of the relevance of my discovery." The famous student is pursuing her Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of California (UC).
That act of Martisius was the result of a decade of excavations and research carried out by two international teams. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in August.
«This type of bone tool was previously thought to be only associated with modern humans"Said Teresa E. Steele, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, who also served as a co-author of the paper and a tutor for Martisius at the university.
The uncovered tool is used to soften animal skins and they were made about 50,000 years by Neanderthals. These specialized tools are still used today in a similar way to smooth and refine the leather used to make high-end handbags and jackets.
Now in his second year of doctoral studies at the University of California, Martisius will continue his investigation of these pieces that have been so successful.
Professor Steele and her colleagues will use the resources available at the university to conduct experimental studies of the manufacture and use of animal bone tools for comparison with the tool used by Neanderthals.
Using sophisticated imaging techniques, Martisius will examine the pieces made by Neanderthals by comparing those objects with the first ones that were made by the first modern humans in Europe. The student said that she will also look at it on animal bones from nearby places to see if she can identify additional pieces carried by our ancestors.
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