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World's Oldest Fish Hooks Discovered in Okinawa, Japan

Sep 19, 2016 04:26 AM EDT
Okinawa Island, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.
The world's oldest fish hooks has been unearthed in Okinawa Japan. The fish hooks, which are cresent-shaped, are estimated to be 23,000 years old.
(Photo : Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center/Wikimedia Commons)

The world's oldest fish hooks have been unearthed in Okinawa, Japan. The fish hooks, which are crescent-shaped, are estimated to be 23,000 years old.

According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the team of Japanese scientists have discovered the ancient fish hooks in Sakitari Cave located in the southern part of Okinawa.

This outstanding discovery is believed to be older than those found in Timor by 7,000 years.

Discovered along with the fishing hooks, which were made of sea snails, were other artifacts such as beads and tools as well as food that ancient people residing in the area ate. These include charred frogs, birds and eels, as well residues of freshwater crabs, which the scientists belive to be a seasonal delicacy, CNN reports.

The new discovery breaks previous assumptions that it was hard for humans to live and thrive on the island which has poor resources. It also shows that maritime adaptation and technology has extended to milatitude areas along the west Pacific Coast 35,000 years ago.

"Our findings suggest that Paleolithic people had adapted their maritime technologies to live not only in Wallacea and Australia, but a much wider geographic zone," Masaki Fujita, one of the study's co-authors, told CNN.

He pointed out that the discovery of these 23,000-year-old fish hooks in Okinawa, Japan is particularly important as it's the first evidence of human marine adaptation beyond Australia and Wallacea, a group of island in Indonesia. He added that they also found human remains in Okinawa and is hoping to discover more ancient tools used by our ancestors.

"We found fish and human bones that dated back some 30,000 to 35,000 years," Fujita added. "We don't know what kind of tools were used to catch these fish, but we're hoping to find some even older fishing tools."

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