Human bones are the best bone daggers, researchers studying weapons valued by humans in New Guinea.
Using imaging, computer simulations and time-tested samples of bird and human daggers, researchers have found that human femurs produce the best blades. Their findings were published in the journal Royal Society Open Science .
Nathaniel J Dominy, an anthropologist at Dartmouth College and first author of the study, described New Guinea bone daggers for the Washington Post as "scary, wild-looking, and beautiful." The fearsome weapons, designed for both function and beauty, are adorned with intricate carvings.
So much more than a blade, they were valued as markers of social capital. Worn as "striking personal ornaments," the daggers were "role models par excellence male combat skills and a highly coveted status symbol among men," the authors said. [1
The weapons were historically used in close combat. The German anthropologist Leonhard Schultze-Jena described already in the year 1914 the heavy function of the weapons in Grizzly detail: "The dagger serves not only to penetrate the main arteries, but at the same time as a lever, with which one rotates the pierced neck of the enemy, in order to tear the neck and, with enough power, break your neck. "
Read more: Ancient Amazon: Discovery of 81 New Archaeological Sites Rewrites History of America before Columbus
The researchers analyzed daggers made from human thighbones the bones of the cassowary, a ratite comes from New Guinea. Apart from the dwarven casuars, these birds are very large, with one species – the southern cassowary – only oversized by emus and ostrich birds. Although the birds have a reputation for aggression against humans, certain societies in New Guinea Highlands have historically captured, raised and endowed creatures.
To preserve the highly esteemed and relatively rare human daggers, the team mapped them with a CT scanner and simulated their pricking capabilities. The team scanned 10 human bone daggers and purchased a modern 1970s casuar dagger. They tested the Cassowary Dagger by mechanically prying it through urethane and bending it to breakage.
The bones of most flying birds are essentially hollow: filled with a network of air sacs. The cadaver bones used in daggers, however, are denser than human bones. This similarity allowed the scientists to use their cassowary measurement results in computer simulations of scanned human bone daggers.
Read more: Iran Imposes Mummy That May Belong to One of Its Last Royal Leader
Given the rather striking differences between the bodies of humans and cassowaries, it makes sense that the shape of their bones should also be different. Daggers of human bones had a greater curvature than the Kasuardolche and seemed less to bend. The human daggers preserved the natural curvature of the femur.
Human bone daggers written by authors had been better engineered for stinging. The flatter casuar daggers were flattened, possibly reflecting a lower social value. The diamante rivets on the ring of human bone maybe.