More than 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals were able to make a primitive form of superglue to hold their rudimentary stone and wood tools together.
The early hominins used these tools for a variety of tasks, including making wooden spears and working leather, and slaughtering the animals that killed them.
An international research team found chemical traces of the glue – made from resin and sometimes mixed with beeswax – on flint found in two Italian caves.
The resin that would have been collected from trees outside the caves of the Neanderthals would have had to be heated over a small fire to make the glue.
The findings complement the growing evidence that suggests that Neanderthals were more resourceful and progressive than traditionally accepted.
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Neanderthals were able to make a primitive form of superglue over 40,000 years ago to hold their rudimentary stone and wood tools together
HOW HAS NEANDERTHALS MANUFACTURED PRIMITIVE ADHESIVE?
Researchers have discovered traces of chemical glue on flint tools found in two caves in western Italy.
These caves were home to Neanderthals who lived in Europe about 55-40,000 years ago.
Experts found that some of the tools were coated with resin from local pine and in one case with a mixture of resin and beeswax.
Resin would have been collected from trees outside the caves.
However, the substance would have had to be heated over a small fire to make the glue.
The adhesive was discovered by the University of New York The Pisa chemist Ilaria Degano, Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Boulder and colleagues on tools used in two caves – the Grotta del Fossellone and the Grotta di Sant & # 39; Agostino – were excavated on the west coast of Italy.
In the caves, Neanderthals lived in Europe between 55 and 40,000 years ago, during the so-called Middle Palaeolithic, thousands of years ago, before modern humans ever entered the continent.
Archaeologists have found more than 1,000 stone tools in both places. Among them are pieces of flint with a length of about one inch.
"We continue to find evidence that Neanderthals were not inferior primitives, but were quite capable of doing things that meant trading. This was originally attributed to modern humans only," Dr. Villa, a museum curator at the University of Colorado.
When they examined the tools, Dr. Villa and her colleagues displayed various strange residues on some of the flints – residues that resembled organic material.
"Sometimes this material is just an inorganic sediment, and sometimes it's the traces of the glue used to hold the tool in its socket," Dr. Villa.
To distinguish between the two, the researchers chemically analyzed 10 flints. They found that some of the tools were resin-coated with native pine and in one case with a mixture of resin and beeswax.  Neanderthals in Italy not only held stone tools in their hands, Dr. Villa.
Instead, they also attached the flint stones to the handles so that they could grasp them better, since they could use tools to sharpen wooden spears, work leather and kill them.
An international Research team found chemical traces of the adhesive – resin and sometimes beeswax – on imaged flint, excavated in two Italian caves.
Using a Primitive Sticking tools to handles – a technique that researchers call "sticking" – is a major technological advance. Villa and explained how the Neanderthals made spears.
While the pine resin is drying in the air, the Neanderthal artisans would have had to heat the collected resin over a small fire in the air to make their glue.
"This is one of several evidences strongly suggesting that Neanderthals were able to make fire whenever they needed it," Dr. Villa.
The adhesive was discovered by the chemist Ilaria Degano of the University of Pisa, Paola Villa University, by Colorado Boulder and colleagues on tools in two caves excavated – the Grotta del Fossellone and the Grotta di Sant'Agostino (picture) – on the west coast of Italy
Neanderthals lived in Europe during the Middle Palaeolithic period, about 55-40,000 years ago. In the image Excavations in the Grotta del Fossellone
Indeed, the new discoveries are neither the only nor the oldest known example of the Neanderthals in Europe, with two stone flakes from the Campitello quarry in central Italy before the discovery of researchers.
However, evidence from the caves suggests that the technique was used more frequently than the researchers had assumed.
The full results of the study were published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The glue was discovered by the chemist Ilaria Degano of the University of Pisa, Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Boulder and colleagues at tools excavated in two caves – the Grotta del Fossellone and the Grotta di Sant & # 39; Agostino – on the Italian west coast
WHO WAS THE NEANDER VALLEY?
The Neanderthals were a close human ancestor, mysteriously extinct around 50,000 years ago, some 500,000 years ago across Europe.
Later, people came to the same journey over the past 100,000 years.
The Neanderthals were a cousin species of humans, but not a direct ancestor – the two species separated by a common ancestor – that perished about 50,000 years ago. Pictured is an exhibition of the Neanderthal Museum.
These were the original "cavemen," historically considered stupid and brutal in comparison to modern humans.
In recent years and especially in the last decade, however, it has increased Apparently, we sold Neanderthals.
An increasing body of evidence points to a more refined and versatile type of "caveman" than anyone would have thought possible, the concept of the afterlife in mind.
In addition, their diet and behavior were surprisingly flexible.
They used body art like pigments and pearls and they were the first artists with Neanderthal cave art (and symbolism) in Spain, apparently 20,000 years before the earliest modern human art.