Archaeologists have discovered at the entrance to the Unicorn Cave (located at the foot of the Harz Mountains in Germany) a deer hoof, more than 51 thousand years old, decorated with carvings, reports the Daily Mail, citing an article published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Experts believe that this find, measuring about six centimeters long and four centimeters wide, is the oldest piece of jewelry in the world. The Neanderthals created it.
Scientists came to this conclusion after a detailed study of the hoof. They found that it was skillfully engraved with notches spaced at an equal distance from each other at right angles.
Moreover, before applying the pattern, the knuckle was initially boiled to soften it. Then, using razor-sharp stone plates, carvings were made.
“This is an outstanding example of their cognitive abilities. Bone carving is unique to Neanderthals,” said study leader Dr. Dirk Leder.
“All this prompted scientists to think that for ancient people the creation of such gizmos had a “symbolic meaning” – they thought out a work of art in advance.”Neanderthals were capable of complex behaviors, including communicating their experiences through creativity,” added Leder.
While experts have yet to figure out what ancient humans might have used the threaded hoof for, this finding proves that Neanderthals’ behavior was similar to Homo sapiens