Modern humans replaced Neanderthals in Europe about 40,000 years ago, but the Neanderthals' capabilities are still greatly debated, researchers said.
"For now the bone tools from these two sites are one of the better pieces of evidence we have for Neanderthals developing on their own a technology previously associated only with modern humans," said Dr Shannon McPherron of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.
McPherron and Michel Lenoir of the University of Bordeaux have been excavating the site of Abri Peyrony where three of the bones were found.
"If Neanderthals developed this type of bone tool on their own, it is possible that modern humans then acquired this technology from Neanderthals. Modern humans seem to have entered Europe with pointed bone-tools, and soon started to make lissoir. This is the first possible evidence for transmission from Neanderthals to our direct ancestors," said Dr Soressi of Leiden University, Netherland.
She and her team found the first of four bone-tools during her excavation at the classic Neanderthal site of Pech-de-l'Aze I.
“The first three found were fragments less than a few centimeters long and might not have been recognized without experience working with later period bone tools. It is not something normally looked for in this time period. However, when you put these small fragments together and compare them with finds from later sites, the pattern in them is clear," said McPherron.


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