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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

42,000-year-old ancient fish hooks discovered

By Lee Ha-na

New evidence shows that early humans were skilled in deep-sea fishing due to the discovery of fish hooks that date as far back as 42,000 years ago, reports

Archaeologists have uncovered remains of deep-water fish, such as tuna, inside of a cave on the Southeast Asian island of East Timor. Other studies have previously indicated that humans had crossed the vast ocean waters about 50,000 years ago and had fished in the open sea about as far back as 12,000 years.

The fish hooks are now the earliest tools uncovered that indicate evidence of deep-sea fishing. According to Australian newspaper, The Telegraph, the fish hooks were 3cm long and made from bone. The cave is called Jerimalai, which was first discovered in 2005. In addition to the fish hooks, it also housed remains of tuna, bones, turtles, pythons, rodents, bats and stone artifacts.

Sue O’Connor, a researcher and archaeologist from Australian National University, calls the excavation a very exciting find because it shows how modern humans had advanced maritime skills. This is especially interesting because tuna moves very fast and careful planning is required to catch such deep-water fish.

Timor is not home to many land-dwelling animals, which is why O’Connor believes the early inhabitants resorted to fishing.

Other scientists may say the fish could have been caught easily off the coast instead of in open waters, but O’Connor states that it still isn’t easy to catch tuna and that it would require nets set in the deep water.

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