Pre-historic humans used to hunt monkeys and squirrels for tens of thousands of years

Rhesus monkey
Rhesus monkey Pixabay

A new study has revealed that ancient humans who lived in the pre-historic ages used various sophisticated techniques to hunt monkeys and squirrels. Researchers made this conclusion after collecting evidence from Fa-Hien Lena Cave, Sri Lanka's oldest archaeological site.

During the study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers found the remains of a young adult female, a child, aged between five and six and at least two infants from the Fa-Hien Lena Cave. Upon further analysis, it has been learned that they lived in this area around 5000 to 6000 years ago. Studies conducted in the area also helped researchers to know that humans lived in this area as long as 30,000 years ago.

As this cave opens to a rain forest, researchers came to the conclusion that humans used to hunt in these areas too and previously it was believed that hunting in rain forests was an unassailable task for pre-historic humans.

Earlier, researchers believed that ancient humans used to hunt only in coastal and savannah areas, as animals ranging from large to middle sizes lived in these regions.

It should be noted that rain forests usually shelters smaller animals and it demands sophisticated techniques and tools to hunt down these creatures. These animals were also a small source of protein, which indicates that rigorous and long efforts were needed to meet the nutritional requirements of humans who occupied this area in the past.

The discovery of monkey and squirrel bones from the cave has now literally reshaped current understanding about the way in which humans hunted in the early days. Researchers have discovered sophisticated bone and stone tools and these remains dated back to 40,000 years. Even though researchers discovered bones of other animals too, more than 70 percent of the bones were of monkeys and squirrels.

"Over the last two decades, research has highlighted human occupation of tropical rain forests in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Melanesia at least as early as 45,000 years ago, so the potential for human reliance on small mammals in these settings prior to 20,000 years ago seems likely. This shows our species was able to diversify in varied settings all around the world," said Patrick Roberts, a top researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History 's Department of Archaeology and the lead author of the study in a recent statement.

Roberts also added that this ability of human beings to diversify in varied settings might have helped them to emerge as a dominant race when compared to other hominin species, like Neanderthals and Denisovans.

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