The oldest use of bearskin

When did the exploitation of bearskin to generate shelter begin among humans? It is a tradition about 300,000 years old. This is confirmed by research published in the ‘Journal of Human Evolution’. The oldest use of bearskin was documented.

Specialists from the University of Tobinga, Germany, found out. They are headed by Professor Nicholas Conard. They analyzed bear skins worked by humans and located in a cave in Schöningen, Lower Saxony. The records date from the Paleolithic period.

Bear skins sheltered the Paleolithic inhabitants.
The fur of bears sheltered the Paleolithic inhabitants.

Removing the skin

The analyzed samples evidence the earliest use of bearskin to generate shelter ever identified. “The animals were not only used for food. Their skins were also essential for survival in the cold. The use of bearskins is in some ways a key adaptation among ancestral humans. They were adapting to the climate in the north,” said the scholar.

How were the conclusions of the analysis reached? Cuts were observed in the phalanges and metatarsals of a cave bear discovered in German Lower Saxony. This was explained by the University of Tobinga in a statement.

“Cut marks on bones are usually interpreted in archaeology as an indication of meat use. But here there is hardly any meat to recover from the hand and foot bones. We can attribute such fine and precise cut marks to the careful removal of the skin.” Researcher Ivo Verheijen, from the German academic campus, estimated this.

The oldest use of bearskin is 300,000 years old.
The oldest use of bearskin is 300 thousand years old.

Wrapping up

Yes: the inhabitants of northern Europe were able to survive the winter thanks to the use of bearskins. They were used to generate warmth in adverse weather conditions. This is the researcher’s conclusion. The observations also reveal a human hunting strategy to take advantage of bears. This allows us to think about the proliferation of adult mammals in archaeological zones.

The bear skin, he explained, must be removed soon after the animal’s death so that it is not rendered useless.

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