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How Neanderthals made the very first glue

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posted on Sep, 2 2017 @ 11:17 PM
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Source: How Neanderthals made the very first glue

The world's oldest known glue was made by Neanderthals. But how did they make it 200,000 years ago? Leiden archaeologists have discovered three possible ways. Publication in Scientific Reports, 31 August.

Why is this important, well, it is another testament to the value of hands-on recreation to gain knowledge into lost skills. Whenever I hear this (see bold below) it makes me cringe.

A Neanderthal spear is predominantly made up of two parts, a piece of flint for the point, and a stick for the shaft. But one aspect is often overlooked, and has recently been puzzling archaeologists: the glue that fixes the point to the shaft. For this, Neanderthals used tar from birch bark, a material that researchers often assumed was complex and difficult to make.

The reasons they usually downplay the knowledge and skill of our ancestors is because they sit behind a desk and can't imagine someone that is not a modern contemporary human could be so intelligent. All the while ignoring the fact that the knowledge they have int heir heads is there because of all those that went before them doing the learning. The more we get these "academics" to get off their hind quarters and out to actually try to do these things, fail, try again, etc... to re-learn these lost skills, the less we will need to jump to explanations consisting of wild speculations.

The simplest way they found surprised them, because of its simplicity.

Leiden archaeologists have now shown that this assumption was unfounded. Led by Paul Kozowyk and Geeske Langejans, the researchers discovered no fewer than three different ways to extract tar from birch bark. For the simplest method, all that is needed is a roll of bark and an open fire. This enabled Neanderthals to produce the first glue as early as 200,000 years ago.




posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 01:39 AM
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Soak sinew in water for a day.
Tie off your spear tip.
It shrinks when it dries and holds the tip fast.
Works for tomahawks, too.



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 01:52 AM
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a reply to: skunkape23

Quite correct, Australian peoples have been using Kangaroo leg sinew for "Ever".

They also have made "Glue" forever.



I wouldn't be surprised that they taught the Neanderthals how to make it...
.

Ive always maintained, in my layman's knowledge...that Australian Aboriginies are Neanderthal descendants, mixed with Denisovan and whatever Asia Humans were around.

They have always stated, that They were the first Humans on Earth........ before they came, there were Giants.....which they fought.

Maybe the Australian first nations were the First Europeans after all?




posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 03:07 AM
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They did successful brain surgeries 7000 years ago, and we wonder about prehistoric humans making glue?



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 07:08 AM
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originally posted by: DerBeobachter
They did successful brain surgeries 7000 years ago, and we wonder about prehistoric humans making glue?

I think that's somewhat of an overstatement.
All we have is evidence of holes being made in living skulls that later healed some.

Why those holes were made is an assumption.

Harte



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 11:28 AM
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originally posted by: Krakatoa
The reasons they usually downplay the knowledge and skill of our ancestors is because they sit behind a desk and can't imagine someone that is not a modern contemporary human could be so intelligent.


I do not think people "downplay" our ancestors, but there is no evidence they manufactured and used glue. The scientists in the OP have been speculating that Neanderthals could make glue and they have shown how it could have been done. There is no evidence that they affixed flint to sticks with glue, thus making spears. If they did use glue, there is no evidence that it was derived in the way the scientists speculate.

Most things about our ancestors are speculative because evidence is scant.



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 01:35 PM
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Pine sap makes a good glue.
Kind of iffy for affixing a spear tip you plan on killing a woolly mammoth with.

edit on 3-9-2017 by skunkape23 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 01:53 PM
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originally posted by: skunkape23
Pine sap makes a good glue.
Kind of iffy for affixing a spear tip you plan on killing a woolly mammoth with.


But a great adhesive to affix the napped stone point to the shaft before wrapping in soaked sinew. Once the sinew begins to dry, it will shrink, and the glue will essentially make it a singe weapon system.

I've done it myself as an experiment when I was a kid, and found it to be a LOT stronger than without. It also makes it easier to wrap the sinew as the napped spearhead doesn't move as much (it keeps it in place while you wrap). But, again, this was hands-on use, and finding how easy it was to do.



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 02:35 PM
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originally posted by: Krakatoa

originally posted by: skunkape23
Pine sap makes a good glue.
Kind of iffy for affixing a spear tip you plan on killing a woolly mammoth with.


But a great adhesive to affix the napped stone point to the shaft before wrapping in soaked sinew. Once the sinew begins to dry, it will shrink, and the glue will essentially make it a singe weapon system.

I've done it myself as an experiment when I was a kid, and found it to be a LOT stronger than without. It also makes it easier to wrap the sinew as the napped spearhead doesn't move as much (it keeps it in place while you wrap). But, again, this was hands-on use, and finding how easy it was to do.


I have a tomahawk with a head forged from a rail spike with a hickory handle. It chops, it pries, it slices....and it is a functional pipe. Best tool in my kit.
A stick and a railroad spike with a hole drilled in it.



posted on Sep, 3 2017 @ 03:10 PM
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originally posted by: paraphi

originally posted by: Krakatoa
The reasons they usually downplay the knowledge and skill of our ancestors is because they sit behind a desk and can't imagine someone that is not a modern contemporary human could be so intelligent.


I do not think people "downplay" our ancestors, but there is no evidence they manufactured and used glue. The scientists in the OP have been speculating that Neanderthals could make glue and they have shown how it could have been done. There is no evidence that they affixed flint to sticks with glue, thus making spears.

Actually, there is such evidence.
But the glue wasn't used to affix the point to the shaft. It was used to preserve the lashings holding the point and keep them tight.

Evidence indicates that they successfully developed such a technique. The first discovery was made in 1963 at Kínigsaue, in then-East Germany. This was the site of an ancient lakeside hunting camp, from which Neanderthals had hunted now extinct Ice Age creatures such as mammoth and woolly rhino as well as red deer, horses, and reindeer. Two small, hardened lumps of black material were found during the dig, one bearing a fingerprint and the other the impression of a wooden haft or handle.

In 2001, the lumps were dated to at least 40,000 years ago and were shown to have the chemical signature of birch bark pitch produced by the dry distillation process. Much older evidence was found at the Campitello quarry in central Italy. Here, the remains of an extinct elephant lay close to two large lumps of black pitch, which covered the end of two stone flakes crafted in a typical Neanderthal style. The Campitello find dates back over 200,000 years, a remarkably early origin for this complex process. A third Neanderthal site at Inden-Altdorf, overlooking the Inde River in Germany and dating to around 128,000 to 115,000 years ago, features more than 80 stone tools flecked with black material, but the chemical analysis indicating that this was distilled pitch requires further confirmation.

NOVA

Harte



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 02:01 AM
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a reply to: Harte

There is another recent paper that describes how ochre is combined with plant resins and makes them set faster, in the 3-5 minute range.

paraphi like harte posted, there is ample evidence that resins of various types were used in the hafting of lithics.
And not just from neanderthal, but from historic and contemporary sources.
Aboriginal australians used the resin from spinefex grass, as do people in south america.
In my neck of the woods, it was pine or manzinita resin.
Some people in coastal southern cal, used natural tar. They collected tar balls that washed ashore from offshore oil seeps.
And the association between ochres and lithic hafting is well recognised.
Just how it was done wasnt quite so well understood.
Ive read that the ochre was ground to a powder then heated, and it forms a paste, almost like clay that is formed around what you need to fix in place.
But the new work shows that the ochre works as a catalyst with the plant resin.



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 02:38 AM
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Here's a batch i made earlier, (3 years ago) and still have. I keep it wrapped in grease proof paper in the fridge or it goes soft and flattens out in room temps. Simple to make. Pine sap, ground charwood and a small amount of animal fat to make it supple, The fat is what turns it from a brittle substance to a pliable substance...Just add heat when ready to use. Ideal for glueing Arrow heads, Fletchings, etc or for waterproofing anything from small birch bark water vessels to boots to canoes.


edit on 4-9-2017 by Soloprotocol because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-9-2017 by Soloprotocol because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 02:56 AM
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a reply to: Soloprotocol

Nice, thanks for that



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 02:58 AM
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originally posted by: Soloprotocol
Here's a batch i made earlier, (3 years ago) and still have. I keep it wrapped in grease proof paper in the fridge or it goes soft and flattens out in room temps. Simple to make. Pine sap, ground charwood and a small amount of animal fat to make it supple, The fat is what turns it from a brittle substance to a pliable substance...Just add heat when ready to use. Ideal for glueing Arrow heads, Fletchings, etc or for waterproofing anything from small birch bark water vessels to boots to canoes.


Make a batch of that, and experiment mixing in yellow or red ochre and see what happens.



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 03:32 AM
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originally posted by: punkinworks10

originally posted by: Soloprotocol
Here's a batch i made earlier, (3 years ago) and still have. I keep it wrapped in grease proof paper in the fridge or it goes soft and flattens out in room temps. Simple to make. Pine sap, ground charwood and a small amount of animal fat to make it supple, The fat is what turns it from a brittle substance to a pliable substance...Just add heat when ready to use. Ideal for glueing Arrow heads, Fletchings, etc or for waterproofing anything from small birch bark water vessels to boots to canoes.


Make a batch of that, and experiment mixing in yellow or red ochre and see what happens.


probably just turn red or yellow as the pine is kinda clear once heated and strained. It's the charwood that turns it black.



posted on Sep, 4 2017 @ 10:07 AM
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a reply to: Soloprotocol

The ochre acts as a catalyst to the resin,
causing it to harden in 3-5 minutes



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