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Study: Cavemen ate ‘elephants’ 0.5M yrs ago to sharpen their brains

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London: Prehistoric cavemen used to hunt and eat elephants half a million years ago, to boost their intelligence, scientists have claimed. Archaeologists discovered stone tools in Israel, which showed signs of animal residue from big game, and the unearthed hand axes together with scrapers were used to separate fur and animal fat from muscle tissue, the Mirror reported.

Professor Ran Barkai, of Tel Aviv University, said that the Revadim quarry was a wonderfully preserved site a half million years old, where they found butchered animal remains, including an elephant rib bone which had been neatly cut by a stone tool, alongside flint hand axes and scrapers still retaining animal fat.

The research is the first to provide proof that Paleolithic stone tools were indeed used to process animal carcasses and hides. By examining the surfaces and edges of the tools to determine their function and using infrared scanners to identify signatures of prehistoric organic compounds, the researchers were able to demonstrate for the first time direct proof of animal exploitation by flint tools.


Prof Barkai said that prehistoric people made use of all parts of the animal, which can provide more than 1,000 pounds of flesh. Today, all species of elephant are hunted specifically for their meat notably in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The research is published in PLOS ONE.