A picture of what is believed to be the tusk of a mammoth, found three days ago at the dry river bed in Manuel Doblado. (Photo : Reuters)
The discovery of fossils in South Africa has led researchers to believe the artifacts are 44,000-years-old, older than the fossils found in the area.
The artifacts discovered include poisoned-tipped arrows and ostrich egg beads that were used to make jewelry. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, report the items have the characteristics of the San hunter-gatherers. The descendants of the Sans live in southern Africa. Some of the items can be found in modern cultures.
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The discovery was led by an international effort with scientists from the US, Great Britain, France, Italy, Norway, and South Africa, using the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
One of the researchers, Lucinda Backwell, said the findings are the earliest known instances of modern behavior and supports theories that modern man came from southern Africa.
Previous research showed the San society lived between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago, however, with the items getting the carbon dating treatment, it showed the artifacts might go back to 44,000 years ago. The items, according to Backwell, have the same purposes if used in today's society.
"They all have a specific reason we understand, that's why we can name them," Backwell said.
France's National Research Centre's researcher Francesco d'Errico said the findings show the Sans people were highly evolved.
"They were fully modern genetically and cognitively," d'Errico said.
The researchers added that the use of the ostrich egg beads was not only used as accessories but in negotiating with neighboring societies.
The discovery was made in Border Cave, located in South Africa's northeastern border with Swaziland.