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Could Stone Age clubs really kill?

Experiments shows Neolithic Thames beater could be used to kill a person
model Thames beater/Meaghan Dyer

It’s a tougher question than at first appears. Just because a fossil human is found with a bashed-in skull doesn’t strictly prove violence or lethality of weapons. So, following in the footsteps of the once-proud maxim of journalism, “If your mother says she loves you check it out,” some researchers wanted to know if Stone Age clubs (in this case, 5500 BC) can really kill.

From Megan Gannon at LiveScience:

Archaeologists have found ample evidence of violence in Western and Central Europe during the Neolithic period, through burials of people who had skull fractures—some healed, some were fatal —from an intentional blow to the head. But it was often unclear where these injuries came from.

So, Dyer and her supervisor Linda Fibigerturned to synthetic skull models that are designed for ballistics tests for guns. (Animal models and human cadavers were not scientifically or ethically acceptable.) These skulls consisted of a rubber skinwrapped around a polyurethane, bone-like shell that was filled with gelatin to simulate the brain.

Dyer wanted to see how these artificial human heads would hold up after getting bashed by a replica of a Neolithic wooden club found known as the Thames beater. More.

They didn’t hold up, but we will let Gannon tell the rest…

The more we know about Stone Age life, the more reasonable and less fictional interpretations are.

But still looking for that definitive missing link…

See also: A look at earliest human ancestors so far known (350 kya), found in modern-day Morocco Still looking for that definitive missing link.

It turns out Neanderthals were not all that stupid about tools.

Burying the view that Neanderthals were half-wits: “It seems we have all been guilty of defaming Neanderthal man” declared a recent Editorial in The Guardian. This comment was triggered by a report documenting evidence for the use of pigments and decorative shells by Neanderthals.

can double as a raft/kayak back up paddle, shovel.. Pearlman
for the laundry or disciplining the kids? fishing to stun fish? or whack a mole? agree ET not regulation baseball so not n. american Pearlman
Cricket, anyone? ET
Good science! Real experiments, not computer simulations. But the club looks more like a food processor to me. Grain thresher, seed crusher. It doesn't look advantageous as a weapon. If you're close enough to use a club, you'd do better with a heavy rock. If you want standoff distance, you're better off with catapults or arrows. polistra

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