Washington: Researchers have discovered Neanderthal bone tools which were excavated at two neighboring Paleolithic sites in southwest France.
The tools are unlike any others previously found in Neanderthal sites, but they are similar to a tool type well known from later modern human sites and still in use today by high-end leather workers.
This tool, called a lissoir or smoother, is shaped from deer ribs and has a polished tip that, when pushed against a hide, creates softer, burnished and more water resistant leather.
The bone tool is still used today by leather workers some fifty thousand years after the Neanderthals and the first anatomically modern humans in Europe.
Modern humans replaced Neanderthals in Europe about 40 thousand years ago, but the Neanderthals` capabilities are still greatly debated.
Some argue that before they were replaced, Neanderthals had cultural capabilities similar to modern humans, while others argue that these similarities only appear once modern humans came into contact with Neanderthals.
"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", Shannon McPherron of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said.