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350,000-year-old bones discovered in Antalya’s Karain Cave

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The 350,000-year-old thigh bone of an animal and tools made from bones dating back to the Paleolithic Period were found during excavations in Antalya’s Karain Cave, the Milliyet daily reported on Monday.

Excavation leader and head of Ankara University’s archeology department Professor Harun Taşkıran said that for the first time they had encountered a thigh bone, teeth and skeletal remains of animals. The thigh bone, measuring 50 centimeters in diameter, was thought to be 350,000 years old.

According to Taşkıran, the bones might belong to an elephant, rhinoceros or a hippopotamus.

The discovery of a thigh bone worked on by Neanderthals, a human species who lived about 350,000 years ago, revealed that Neanderthals living in Anatolia made tools from bones.

Taşkıran, who has been participating in excavations since 1985, said he came across this type of find for the first time and that there was not much information in the literature about people living in that period turning bones into tools. There are a few examples only in Europe and in the Near East, said Taşkıran.

Karain Cave, located 30 kilometers northwest of Antalya in Yağca village, was inhabited by human beings from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Prehistorical and Classical ages. According to researchers, the cave hosted human beings from various periods for more than 25,000 years.

The cave, which has eight chambers, is the largest of Turkish caves where traces of prehistoric human activities have been found. The excavations were begun in the cave in 1946 by Professor Kılıç Kökten.

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