If you think back to history class, you might remember the tale of Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps in 218 B.C. to sneak up on Rome during the Punic Wars. It was notable not just because he brought an entire army from Carthage to Rome the long way around, but because that army included elephants.
The use of war elephants dates back at least to the fourth century B.C., when Indian kings took Asian elephants into battle. The practice soon spread west to the Persian Empire and then northern Africa, where African elephants were put to military use. There’s only one known case, though, of an African elephant-Asian elephant matchup, at the Battle of Raphia near Gaza on June 22, 217 B.C. The battle, over the sovereignty of Syria, matched the forces of Ptolemy IV, pharaoh of Egypt, against those of Antiochus III, a Greek king whose reign stretched into western Asia. Read more.
Humans that populated the banks of the river Manzanares (Madrid, Spain) during the Middle Palaeolithic (between 127,000 and 40,000 years ago) fed themselves on pachyderm meat and bone marrow. This is what a Spanish study shows and has found percussion and cut marks on elephant remains in the site of Preresa (Madrid).
In prehistoric times, hunting animals implied a risk and required a considerable amount of energy. Therefore, when the people of the Middle Palaeolithic (between 127,000 and 40,000 years ago) had an elephant in the larder, they did not leave a scrap.
Humans that populated the Madrid region 84,000 years ago fed themselves on these prosbocideans’ meat and they consumed their bone marrow, according to this new study. Until now, the scientific community doubted that consuming elephant meat was a common practice in that era due to the lack of direct evidence on the bones. It is still to be determined whether they are from the Mammuthus species of the Palaleoloxodon subspecies.
The researchers found bones with cut marks, made for consuming the meat, and percussion for obtaining the bone marrow. Read more.
Archaeologists and anthropologists excavating a site in the south of Chile have uncovered stones that are believed to have been used as tools by humans 14,000 years ago.
Scientists from Universidad Católica de Temuco and Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) were able to determine these were tools because they exhibit the marking congruent with ancient knives and cutting utensils.
"There are rock detachments from a simple, intentional blow that demonstrate that they were doctored, and that means this is a product of a human being. It lets us postulate that cultural diversity was present in this epoch,” UACh archaeologist Efe Ximena Navarro told El Mostrador.
The discovery occurred near Osorno by accident while paleontologists were studying the fossilized remains of gomphotheres, ancestors of modern elephants presumed to have been hunted by human communities in the area. Read more.