Indian Leptobos fossils may show signs of cut marks made by hominins 2.6 mln years ago


Share post:

The Indo-French research program ‘Siwaliks’ has been surveying the Late Pliocene Formation of the Chandigarh anticline (NW India) since 2008. These sub-Himalayan floodplain deposits are known for their Tertiary-Quaternary transitional fauna, especially those from the Quranwala zone in the Masol Formation, whose basal member is approximately 130 meters below the Gauss/Matuyama paleomagnetic reversal (2.588 Ma).

Indian Leptobos fossils may show signs of cut marks made by hominins 2.6 million years ago
Two cheetahs of Sivapanthera linxiaensis are hunting a bovid 
of Leptobos brevicornis [Credit: Li Rongshan]

About 1500 fossils have been collected in the inlier of Masol, most often on recently eroded outcrops, and sometimes in association with stone tools (choppers, flakes). Many bones were covered by a variety of marks (animal, bioerosion and tectonics) and among these traces a few were intentional cut marks. Different methods have been applied in Paris (France) to describe their topography on a micron scale, using the 3D Digital Video Microscope Hirox, and completed with binocular microscopy at the Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF), and X-ray microtomography with the AST-RX platform, at the National Museum of Natural History, Paris.

Indian Leptobos fossils may show signs of cut marks made by hominins 2.6 million years ago
Cut marks made on the metapodes of Sus scrofa domesticus by the 
sharp edge of a flake [Credit: A. Dambricourt Malassé et al.]

Experiments with quartzite cobbles collected near the fossils were carried out in India and in France. The mineralization of the traces is identical to the bone tissue, and comparison with our experimental cut marks confirms that the profiles are typical of the sharp edge of a flake or cobble in quartzite; their size and spatial organization testify to energetic and intentional gestures from an agile wrist acting with precision, and to a good knowledge of the bovid anatomy.

The findings have been published in the journal Comptes Rendus Palevol.

Source: UCL [February 04, 2016]



Related articles

Tropics are main source of global mammal diversity

Ever since the nineteenth century scientists have recognised that some regions contain more species than others, and that...

Decimation of critically endangered forest elephant detailed

African forest elephants are being poached out of existence. A study just published in the online journal PLOS...

Phase one of Despotiko restoration works completed

The boat that connects Antiparos to the islet of Despotiko, off the eastern Aegean island’s western coast, sails...

Gold-plated fossil solution

An international team of scientists in the University of Leicester's Department of Geology has found a solution to...

Ancient Nemea on the brink of closure, again

One of the Peloponnese’s most fascinating and well-developed sites – Ancient Nemea – is again on the brink...

Are languages shaped by culture or cognition?

Languages evolve in their own idiosyncratic ways, rather than being governed by universal rules set down in human...

Temple of Hibis re-opens after 10 year renovations

Egypt's Minister of Antiques, Mamdouh al Damaty, will initiate the opening of the Hibis Temple after 10 years...

Palaeolithic ‘butchering’ tools found at site of largest woolly mammoth graveyard in Siberia

Implements or weapons made of quartz and quartzite unearthed among tons of bones under a Siberian village called......