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back to article Bone boffins find remains of ancient tuna dinner

Bone-bothering boffins have discovered that Man's taste for tuna sarnies may have developed a lot earlier than previously thought. The archaeologists found the 42,000-year-old bones of tuna and sharks in a cave on East Timor near Australia, providing strong evidence that people were deep-sea fishing back then, according to their …

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trolling

Finally an article that mentions the true origin of the word 'trolling'. Now to get the mainstream media to understand that it has nothing to do with bridges.

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Except that...

The problem is that the fishing technique is called "trawling" in most of the English-speaking world, so you'll see why people get confused.

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Trolling is fishing with hook and line gear from a moving boat. Trawling is dragging a net from a moving boat. The troller can be more catch specific, while the trawler catches everything in it's path............trolling is good fishing practice and trawling is wasteful fishing practice. 42 thousand years ago they were probably trolling (like the old man and the sea) because trawl nets are too heavy to use without winches and heavy equipment....... I am a commercial fisherman myself and am pretty sure man could figure out how to catch a fish, after seeing the first one. As far as man sailing the oceans go, of course they did. Why not?

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Simple fish-aggregating devices???

How does one aggregate fish?

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@Kubla Cant

"How does one aggregate fish?"

Easy. Taunt them, poke them with sticks, insult their parents...

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Anonymous Coward

@Tom

... call them "human-face" behind their backs

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Boats

Surely the Aborigines had to get to Australia somehow and they supposedly made their way there about that long ago. Makes sense they might have stopped off to do a spot of fishing on the way.

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Which means that

Hominids' first invention was mayo.

Or possibly wasabi.

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Boffin

The problem

Is that for some funny reason we believe that people 42,000 and why not 100,000 years ago where so much stupider than us. We seem to assume that our brains have improved in such a short biological time.

We have more knowledge now as we have this wonderful ability to search for more and use prior art.

I remember the movie about stone age people out there to get fire back home.

For some funny reason those guys where suffering from rheumatism or arthritis as they could hardly walk, rubbish. They would probably have out run us easily.

Take the first microprocessor and compare it to what we have now and tell me it is because our brains have improved during this short time.

Take some young kids to a lake and they will look for something to float upon in no time.

We have "sailed" the oceans for a hell of a long time. The islands and continents we live on to day should be ample proof but science wants to find the blueprints of the first floating devices first.

Proof, so start digging the bottoms of the oceans.

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@Lars

Good point. As I see it, the attitude you criticize is just a chronological version of racism: the bred-in-the-bone ape instinct to hate and fear "them", just because they are not "us".

A wonderful corrective - as well as a rattling good SF short story - is Ted Kosmatka's "N-Words", included in "The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 22" (2009). It's not really a spoiler to mention that the story's key idea is that Neanderthal people might be recreated using fossil DNA, with the surprising result that they are found to be not only bigger, stronger, faster, and tougher than us - but also much smarter and kinder. Kosmatka suggests that the Neanderthals may have died out because they were optimised for a world of relative plenty, and when food and other resources shrank to practically nothing, Cro-Magnon man survived for the same reasons rats and cockroaches did. If Neanderthals could somehow live again in our era, they would effortlessly outcompete us, and we would soon be finding out how chimps and gorillas feel.

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Re: The problem

Nicely put. It probably doesn't help much when much of the old knowledge gets destroyed because long term storage has been so fragile. I imagine we could be far ahead of where we are now if it weren't for events where knowledge seems to be lost in dark ages such as before Archaic Greece and again pre-Renaissance. Heck, we may only be several hundred years beyond where we were 20,000 years ago.

Sort of like learning to walk as a species. Sure, you can make some progress each time you stand back up but things really start to move when you figure out that walking is just not falling down.

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Very little lasts 42,000 years.

42,000 years. That is a long time.

Knowing so little about pre-history is there a chance that these "amazingly advanced mariners" might have actually been as advanced or even more-so than we are today?

Wood will only last for a few hundred years. Steel will last maybe a few thousand years at most. Either way, there would be little evidence of modes of ocean travel past 10,000 years ago.

We only know what is buried in the Earth.

Think about it: In a few thousand years, will there be that much evidence that this incarnation of the human race was here, other than plastics and a few very carefully preserved artifacts?

Our computers will be rust and dust. Our re-enforced concrete will crumble. Our machines will be unrecognizable. Only bones and stone will really last against time and the forces of nature. The forces of the seas are even harsher than that.

And what are we drawing our conclusions about the past based on? If someone were to find one of our landfills in 20,000 years without knowledge of our society, they might draw the conclusion that we are too primitive to have electric power and that the landfill was one of our cities.

Just a bit of food for thought. (Sushi flavored at that!)

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Not kidding

Have a look at http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/museumcollections/collections/storydetail.php?irn=470&master=424

This is about 1/10th of the East Timor site !

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Idiots!

These remains are clear and incontrovertible evidence that the cave in question was once submerged under fathoms of ocean water.

Fish swim in and die. End of story. No need for all these complicated "nets" or unlikely "fishermen", whom everyone knows would have been too busy fighting dinosaurs to fish anyway.

Bad science all round.

Pfft!

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"The archaeologists found the 42,000-year-old bones of tuna and sharks in a cave"... Sharks do not have bones.

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bep

We are sailing, we are sailing

I've never understood the archaeologists' determined refusal to admit that ancient man sailed on the oceans.

The desperation to 'prove' that they didn't is bizarre. If the water close to the cliffs is really deep that just means it is the OCEAN, on which you need a vessel that can cope with being on the OCEAN in order to fish there, regardless of whether it's 1 mile of 20 miles off-shore. Sure they can't find evidence of the boats, but by the same token they can't find any evidence to disprove the presence of boats but have to explain the inconvenient presence of lots of people on islands. Apparently they drifted there by accident on logs; I mean, come on.

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Meh

deep water close in

yes, deep water close in and islands visible to the north of Dili, East Timor. Good diving there too. Go up to the big statue of Jesus and look north. (not kidding) Also, used to be easy to catch small tuna close to land at times ** as in in 10 miles or less around north Oz. ** before northern hemisphere fishing fleets depleted stocks to near vanishing point. Still a few only 20NM off Oz east coast. Sea levels were lower at times back then, so the island gaps would have been much smaller. Large canoes could have made trips from island to island south following over the horizon lightning displays from land 50 NM or more away.

Earlier comments are right about a cultural chronological snobbery about our ancestors. BTW, most sharks have teeth which can hang around a long time. Teeth are bone, even in sharks.

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Childcatcher

"Canned statement"

Of course it would be canned, after all it is tuna we are talking about.

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