A new discovery suggests that Neanderthals, the immediate ancestors of human beings, may not have been as technologically inferior to our species as previously thought.
Researchers from the University of Montreal found a multipurpose bone tool in Burgundy, France, that dates back to the Neanderthal era, Science Daily reported.
"It proves that Neanderthals were able to understand the mechanical properties of bone and knew how to use it to make tools, abilities usually attributed to our species, Homo sapiens," said Luc Doyon, a University of Montreal anthropologist who participated in the excavation.
The pre–Stone Age implement is the first of its kind ever discovered, and challenges a long-held assumption that Neanderthals did not have the cognitive ability to create tools. Marks on the artifact, supposedly fashioned from the left femur of a reindeer, indicate that it was used as a scraper, a sharpener for stone tools and a device to puncture meat.