Prehistoric poisoners push civilization’s start 20,000 years further back.
LiveScience looks at faint traces of deadly poisons that prove Paleolithic culture rose in Africa at the same time it did in Europe:
“Our research proves that the Later Stone Age emerged in South Africa far earlier than has been believed and occurred at about the same time as the arrival of modern humans in Europe,” study researcher Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, said in a statement.
Finally, researchers dated a thin wooden stick scarred with perpendicular scratches. A chemical analysis revealed traces of ricinoleic acid, a natural poison found in castor beans. It’s likely that the stick was an applicator used to put poison on an arrow or spearheads, the archaeologists reported. At about 20,000 years old, the applicator marks the first use of poison ever discovered.
It seems plausible that these technologies arose 50,000 to 60,000 years ago in Africa and later spread to Europe, Villa said.
[via Archaeological News]