Human Origins Leiden

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Human Origins Leiden

Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe

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Figure 5_-_AP_Lissoir__AP__PAI_projects_400New finds demonstrate that Neandertals were the first in Europe to make standardized and specialized bone tools – which are still in use today.

Two research teams from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands have jointly reported the discovery of Neandertal bone tools coming from their excavations at two neighboring Paleolithic sites in southwest France. The tools are unlike any others previously found in Neandertal sites, but they are similar to a tool type well known from later modern human sites and still in use today by high-end leather workers. This tool, called a lissoir or smoother, is shaped from deer ribs and has a polished tip that, when pushed against a hide, creates softer, burnished and more water resistant leather. The bone tool is still used today by leather workers some 50 thousand years after the Neandertals and the first anatomically modern humans in Europe.

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Archeologists involved in drilling the East African Rift System

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Drilling locations_mapNWO-ALW has funded the project “Climate impact on human evolution: age calibration of the ICDP Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP)”, led by PIs Cor Langereis and Guillaume Dupont-Nivet (Utrecht University). Mark Sier has been contracted as post-doctoral reasearcher for three years, to carry out paleomagnetic dating analyses on the cores drilled at important fossil hominin sites in the Afar Basin (NA; Ethiopia), Baringo Basin (TH) and Turkana Basin (WT; Kenya). Josephine Joordens is part of the project’s research group. Drilling is ongoing in the Baringo Basin and will start end of June in the Turkana Basin. These exciting activities can be followed on http://hspdp.asu.edu and https://www.facebook.com/HSPDP

 

Wil Roebroeks appointed Academy Professor

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Wil Roebroeks, Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology in Leiden, is to be awarded the ‘Academy Professors Prize’ of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). Roebroeks has drastically changed academic thinking about the behaviour of early hominins and our knowledge of the earliest colonisation of Europe and Asia.

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