Monday, October 7, 2013

Neanderthals and the Lissoir Tool


Soressi et al. reported the characterization of a specialized bone tool known as the lissoir, which was used by Neanderthals. The researchers excavated four reindeer rib bones that were found to be present during the time of the Neanderthals. Structural analysis led to the observation that all of these bones had a polished, rounded tip. Additionally, no erosion of bone was observed due to gastric acid. Previously, this tool was only associated with modern humans; however, the researchers found that the indentations and micro-wear preserved on the reindeer rib bones was consistent with the modern human usage of lissoir to obtain impermeable hides. The researchers posit that these findings lead to the one of the following conclusions: (1) Demonstrate the inventiveness of Neanderthals; (2) Demonstrate that modern humans started to influence Neanderthals much earlier than previously thought. This is a promising finding relating the lissoir and the Neanderthalsbut the researchers say that further work with these types of bone must be done.

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