Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. By Marie Soressi et al. PNAS, Vol. 110, No. 35 (August 27, 2013). Also here.
UC Davis research finds Neandertals, not modern humans, made first specialized bone tools in Europe. UC Davis News and Information, September 19, 2013.
humans replaced Neandertals ∼40,000
y ago. Close to the time of replacement, Neandertals show behaviors similar to
those of the modern humans arriving into Europe, including the use of
specialized bone tools, body ornaments, and small blades. It is highly debated
whether these modern behaviors developed before or as a result of contact with
modern humans. Here we report the identification of a type of specialized bone
tool, lissoir, previously only
associated with modern humans. The microwear preserved on one of these lissoir is consistent with the use of lissoir in modern times to obtain
supple, lustrous, and more impermeable hides. These tools are from a Neandertal
context proceeding the replacement period and are the oldest specialized bone
tools in Europe. As such, they are either a demonstration of independent
invention by Neandertals or an indication that modern humans started
influencing European Neandertals much earlier than previously believed. Because
these finds clearly predate the oldest known age for the use of similar objects
in Europe by anatomically modern humans, they could also be evidence for
cultural diffusion from Neandertals to modern humans.