Meet the world’s earliest known AMPUTEE: Youngster in Borneo had their left foot surgically amputated 31,000 years ago – and lived to tell the tale, skeleton analysis reveals

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  • Researchers find 31,000-year-old remains of a child in Borneo
  • He found evidence that his left leg was surgically amputated
  • They survived the surgery and lived for six to nine years
  • By far, the earliest known surgical amputation occurred 7,000 years ago.

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While amputation may be regarded as a fairly modern procedure, a new study suggests that humans have been performing this type of surgery since the Stone Age.

Researchers at Griffith University have found the remains of a young man in Borneo whose left leg was surgically amputated 31,000 years ago.

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Amazingly, researchers believe the person survived the surgery, and lived for six to nine years, dying at age 19 or 20.

“This unexpectedly early evidence of a successful limb amputation suggests that at least some modern human pastoral groups in tropical Asia developed sophisticated medical knowledge and skills long before the Neolithic agricultural transition,” the researchers wrote in their study. Nature,

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Researchers at Griffith University have found the remains of a young man in Borneo whose left leg was surgically amputated 31,000 years ago (artist’s impression)

Researchers believe the remains belong to a young man whose lower third of his lower leg was surgically amputated, probably as a child.

Researchers believe the remains belong to a young man whose lower third of his lower leg was surgically amputated, probably as a child.

Why is amputation needed?

An amputation may be needed if:

– You have a severe infection in a limb

– Your limb has been affected by gangrene (often as a result of peripheral artery disease)

– you have severe trauma to a limb, such as a crush or blast wound

– Your limb is deformed and has limited range of motion and function

Source: NHS

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An amputation is the surgical removal of a part of the body, such as an arm or a leg.

By far, the oldest known surgical amputation occurred about 7,000 years ago in France from a Neolithic farmer whose left forearm was surgically removed and then partially healed.

However, in Western societies, according to the researchers, successful surgical dissection has become a medical norm only in the past 100 years.

‘Before modern clinical developments including antibiotics, it was widely thought that most people who underwent amputation surgery would have died, either from blood loss and shock or from subsequent infection at the time of amputation. – scenarios that leave no skeletal traces of advanced healing,’ he wrote.

The team discovered skeletal remains within the Liang Tebo Limestone Cave in East Kalimantan.

They believe they belong to a young man whose lower third of his lower leg was surgically amputated, probably as a child.

Although the reason for the amputation is unclear, the researchers indicated that it was unlikely to be the result of an animal attack or other accident, as they commonly cause crushing fractures.

Team discovers skeletal remains within Liang Tebo limestone cave in East Kalimantan

Team discovers skeletal remains within Liang Tebo limestone cave in East Kalimantan

Although the reason for the amputation is unclear, the researchers indicated that it was unlikely to be the result of an animal attack or other accident, as they commonly cause crushing fractures.

Although the reason for the amputation is unclear, the researchers indicated that it was unlikely to be the result of an animal attack or other accident, as they commonly cause crushing fractures.

In terms of those performing this procedure, the researchers suggest that they should have ‘a detailed knowledge of the structure of organs, muscles and blood vessels’ to prevent fatal blood loss and infection.

This suggests that the amputation was unlikely to have been carried out as a punishment.

The team still does not know whether this operation was a rare occurrence, or whether amputations were performed more regularly.

‘The risk of death from trauma and disease has always been with us, and complex medical tasks, such as limb amputations, may have become more common in the pre-agricultural past of our species than is currently widely believed,’ he said. could.

Overall, the findings suggest that some of the earliest modern foraging groups in Asia developed advanced medical knowledge and skills in Late Pleistocene tropical rainforest environments.

The experts concluded, ‘The rapid rate of wound infections in the tropics may have prompted the development of novel pharmaceuticals, such as antiseptics, that harness the medicinal properties of Borneo’s rich plant biodiversity.

What do we know about the history of the Stone Age?

The Stone Age is distinguished by the original development of stone tools in human prehistoric times that cover more than 95 percent of human technological prehistory.

It begins with the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins, the ancient ancestors of humans, during the Ancient Stone Age – beginning about 3.3 million years ago.

Between 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, the pace of innovation in stone technology began to accelerate very little, a period known as the Middle Stone Age.

Until the beginning of this time, handaxes were made with exquisite craftsmanship. This eventually gave way to smaller, more diverse toolkits, with an emphasis on flake tools rather than larger core tools.

The Stone Age is distinguished by the original development of stone tools in human prehistoric times that cover more than 95 percent of human technological prehistory.  This image shows Neolithic jadeite axes from the Museum of Toulouse

The Stone Age is distinguished by the original development of stone tools in human prehistoric times that cover more than 95 percent of human technological prehistory. This image shows Neolithic jadeite axes from the Museum of Toulouse

These toolkits were established for at least 285,000 years in some parts of Africa and 250,000 to 200,000 years in parts of Europe and Western Asia. These toolkits lasted at least 50,000 to 28,000 years ago.

The pace of innovations increased and the level of craftsmanship increased during the later Stone Age.

Groups of Homo sapiens experimented with various raw materials, including bone, ivory, and horn, as well as stone.

The period between 50,000 and 39,000 years ago is also associated with the advent of modern human behavior in Africa.

Different groups sought their own distinct cultural identities and adopted their own ways of making things.

Later Stone Age peoples and their technologies…

Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /

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