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Researchers: Neanderthals used fire to forge tools 170 kya

This rounded knob is the handle of a Neanderthal digging stick made with the aid of fire.
Neandertal digging stick tempered in fire/Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA

From Nature:

The first known multipurpose tools were crafted 170,000 years ago by Neanderthals, who exploited fire during the manufacturing process. More.

From Kimberly Hickok at Science:

Neandertals evolved in Europe perhaps as early as 400,000 years ago, but it’s unclear when they began to regularly use fire. Until now, the earliest evidence of Neandertals controlling fire dates to the late Middle Pleistocene, about 130,000 years ago. …

Back in Grosseto, archaeologist Biancamaria Aranguren and her team from the Italian ministry of culture’s division of archaeology, fine arts, and landscape in Florence, got to work. Finding the wooden tools was a shock. “I thought, ‘It is impossible, what is this?’” Aranguren says. But the fact that the 58 sticks—made mostly of hard boxwood, but also of oak, ash, and juniper—were nearly identical convinced her that they were probably tools.

A set?

If the find is indeed linked to Neandertals, Fisher says that it could be one more nail in the coffin of their image as unsophisticated, technologically backward hominids. More.

It wouldn’t hurt to ask why we thought that about Neanderthals anyway.

See also: Revolutionary stone tools found in India “much earlier than thought,” 385 kya

Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents


A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?

Early the ice age 170kya RCCF framework calibrates to about 4kYA Pearlman
Is that a Neanderthal matchstick or a lighter? Were they smoking tobacco or marijuana? Were they smoking before or after having unprotected sex with sapiens? Nonlin.org
The word 'forged' in the article is inaccurate. Looks more like the fire was used as a surface-hardening process, akin to glazing ceramic. Maybe 'annealing' would be closer. Modern woodworkers sometimes use a similar process. https://permaculturenews.org/2016/12/05/shou-sugi-ban-preserve-wood-using-fire/ polistra

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