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The man and his ancestors may have exchanged ostrich egg-shell beads, one with another, and the “Stone-Age versions of the Facebook and / or Twitter ‘likes,'” according to a new study.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at the pieces of jewelry that have been discovered in Lesotho, a country surrounded by South Africa, and found that they were likely to be settled more than 30,000 years ago.
“Ostrich eggshell beads and jewellery, made out of them, basically, acted, like Stone Age versions of the Facebook and / or Twitter ‘likes’,’ at the same time, to confirm connectivity with the exchange partners, whereas the alarm of the people of the state of the relationship,” said the study’s lead author, Brian Stewart, in a statement.
Ostrich eggshell beads have been used to cement relationships in Africa for more than 30,000 years old. Image credit: John Klausmeyer, Yuchao Zhao, and Brian Stewart.
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“It is outlandishly a social animal, and that goes back to the deep forces of which are selected to maximize the information that can be useful for life in hunter-gatherer societies of 30,000 years ago and earlier,” Stewart added.
The researchers examined the number of strontium atoms in the ostrich shells, in order to determine that they came from Lesotho, which has the virtue of largely of basalt, which is a layer of the chemical element strontium.
It is believed that some of the items may have traveled as far as 620 miles from where they were, for the first time, made all the more striking as the chains are made out of ostrich shells and ostrich are not usually living in this kind of environment.
Ostrich eggshell beads have been used to cement relationships in Africa for more than 30,000 years old. (Image credit: John Klausmeyer, Yuchao Zhao, and Brian Stewart.)
“These ornaments have been consistently drawn from a very long distance,” Stewart explained. “The oldest of the seed in our random sample that had the third-highest strontium isotope values, so it is also one of the world’s most exotic.”
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It is also likely that the beads were being exchanged at a time of the “climactic upheaval,” from 59,000 to 25,000 years ago, Stewart noted.
“What happened 50,000 years ago was that the earth’s climate was going through a huge swing, so it can’t be a coincidence that this is exactly where this technology will come in,” the analyst explained. “These exchange networks can be used to get the information, the resources, and the physical condition of landscapes, of animals, of vegetable food, other people, and perhaps marriage partners.
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