From Science News Letter, August 2, 1958

PORCUPINES GNAWED ON STONE AGE MAN’S TOOLS — Razor sharp edges on some of the bone chisels of Middle Stone Age man in Africa were found to have been put there by the needle-sharp front teeth of porcupines, Dr. Raymond A. Dart of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, reports. But the fact that a magnifying glass showed up the telltale marks of rodent teeth on the Stone Age tools does not mean that ancient man himself did not do the original work in splitting and shaping the animal bones. At the Kalkbank Stone Age campsite … 3,619 bone fragments were collected. Of these, 903 had been gnawed by porcupines. “The first fact that emerges from the Kalkbank deposit,” Dr. Dart stresses, “is that porcupine gnawing, even when it affects 24.95% of the bones in a deposit, does not prove that porcupines collected or split the bones they gnawed.

More Stories from Science News on Archaeology