Human evolution Intelligent Design

Ostrich eggshell beads from 50 000 years ago shed light on human history

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Ostrich Eggshell beads
Digital microscope images of archeological ostrich eggshell beads/Jennifer Miller

Like following a trail of breadcrumbs:

Ostrich eggshell (OES) beads are ideal artifacts for understanding ancient social relationships. They are the world’s oldest fully manufactured ornaments, meaning that instead of relying on an item’s natural size or shape, humans completely transformed the shells to produce beads. This extensive shaping creates ample opportunities for variations in style. Because different cultures produced beads of different styles, the prehistoric accessories provide researchers a way to trace cultural connections.

“It’s like following a trail of breadcrumbs,” says Miller, lead-author of the study. “The beads are clues, scattered across time and space, just waiting to be noticed.”

To search for signs of population connectivity, Miller and Wang assembled the largest ever database of ostrich eggshell beads. It includes data from more than 1500 individuals.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, “Ostrich eggshell beads reveal 50,000-year-old social network across Africa” at Eurekalert (December 20, 2021)

Except that when Hansel and Gretel did it in the old story, it didn’t work because the birds ate the crumbs, So the kids ended up having to stuff the witch into the oven…

This information sounds more promising and the paper is open access.

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