Crocs take a bite out of claims of ancient stone-tool use | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

REAL SCIENCE. REAL NEWS.

Help us keep you informed.

Support Science News.


News

Crocs take a bite out of claims of ancient stone-tool use

Scars left on bones could have come from hungry reptiles instead of Stone Age butchery, researchers say

By
3:16pm, November 6, 2017
horse leg bone and croc tooth

BIG BITE  Crocodiles in East Africa around 2.5 million years ago had teeth (one shown at right) capable of gouging chunks out of prey animals’ bones. A horse’s leg bone (left), also dating to 2.5 million years ago from East Africa, bears marks more like those of croc bites than butchery with stone tools, as previously suspected, a new study finds.  

Recent reports of African and North American animal fossils bearing stone-tool marks from being butchered a remarkably long time ago may be a crock. Make that a croc.

Crocodile bites damage animal bones in virtually the same ways that stone tools do, say paleoanthropologist Yonatan Sahle of the University of Tübingen in Germany and his colleagues. Animal bones allegedly cut up for meat around 3.4 million years ago in East Africa (SN: 9/11/10, p. 8) and around 130,000 years ago in what’s now California (SN: 5/27/17, p. 7) come from lakeside and coastal areas. Those are places where crocodiles could have wreaked damage now mistaken for butchery, the scientists report online the

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on Consciousness

[title_1]
From the Nature Index Paid Content