30,000-year-old section of spear found in Arctic
HUMANS could have inhabited the desolate and icy lands of the Arctic twice as early as previously thought, new archaeological research has found.
Artefacts around 30,000 years old, including spear foreshafts made of woolly rhinoceros horn and mammoth tusk, have been found in northern Siberia.
Previously, the earliest known evidence of humans in the Arctic was from around 15,000 years ago, when the northern hemisphere’s major ice sheets had begun to recede.
For more than a century, archaeologists speculated that humans lived in the area before this time, but lacked the hard evidence to support such a theory.
The new finds appear to offer confirmation that humans had adapted to the harsh environment in glacial times - much earlier than experts had previously thought.
The latest discovery was found along the Yana River in Siberia, some 300 miles above the Arctic Circle.
It is thought that the discovery at the Paleolithic site could also help researchers shed light on how North America was first populated.
The rhinoceros horn foreshaft resembles those found in North America, suggesting hunters could have brought the technology with them when they migrated to the New World.
Foreshafts were used to bind the spears to the spear handles.
They ensured that if a hunted animal was wounded, the spear itself would fall to the ground while the dart remained in the animal, ensuring the hunter did not lose his spear.
The artefacts were dated at around 27,000 radiocarbon years old or around 30,000 calendar years.
Stone cutters and diggers were also found, as well as animal bone and bone fragments.
The research was published in the journal Science.
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