Archaeologists have found a collection of tools in the jungle-covered cave of Fa-Hien Lena, a site located in south-western Sri Lanka. The tools date back to almost 40,000 years back, and the arrow tips are the oldest found outside Africa. Archaeologists discovered 130 arrowheads and 29 tools used to make bags made out of monkey and squirrel bone. Scientists also used radiocarbon dating to create a timeline of how the tools developed over time.

“Most of these tools were made out of monkey bone, and many of them appear to have been carefully shaped into arrowheads,” says Michelle Langley a Senior Researcher of Human Evolution from Griffith University in Australia. “They are too small and light to have been spearheads, which need some weight to gain force, and too heavy and blunt to have been blow darts.” The arrow tips were attached to wooden shafts, which degraded throughout the millennia.

Image: M.C. Langley

Humans migrated to South Asia about 65,000 years ago. Initially, these early humans started living on the coasts, but as the populations began to grow, many people migrated to the rainforests and began to adapt to a new way of living.

“In the plains, people were hunting big animals living in large groups that were easy to spot and target,” says Michelle Langley. “But in the tropical forest, many prey are very agile and may live high in trees. A spear isn’t particularly useful for catching a monkey or a squirrel in a forest, you need something that’s swift, and that can go high. Bows and arrows are ideal for such an environment.”

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Image: M.C. Langley

Source: National Geographic

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