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3 June 2012
Hominids practiced sophisticated hunting techniques in East Asia

More than ten thousand bone fragments were recovered from the Lingjing site, Henan Province, China, during 2005 and 2006. Statistical analyses of the skeletal elements of the two predominant species in this assemblage - aurochs (Bos primigenius) and horse (Equus caballus) - found that hominids at this site already practiced sophisticated hunting techniques and subsistence strategies.
     The site is located in the west part of Lingjing town, about 15 kilometres to the northwest of the Xuchang City. Initially discovered in the middle of the 20th century, the site was re-excavated during 2005 to 2006. Within an area of about 300 square metres, the site yielded nearly 20 fragments of human fossils, 10,000 stone artefacts, and more than 10,000 pieces of animal fossils from the transition between the Early and Later Palaeolithic Age in China.
     Hunting, and the subsequent disarticulation, slaughtering, and transport of the bones, suggests that hominids at Lingjing already had relatively mature and systematical living strategies and social organisations in this period, processing and handling the two species differently, according to their anatomical characteristics and nutritional values.
     "The study of skeletal element profiles is an essential tool to reconstruct hominid behaviors, their social activities or the functions of archaeological sites", said the study's lead author, Dr Zhang Shuangquan, of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, "This study initiatively identifies hominid's differential treatment of the bones of aurochs and horse in the Palaeolithic record of East Asia".

Edited from PhysOrg (23 May 2012)

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