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The invention of the bow and arrow was a pivotal moment in the human story and its earliest use is a primary quarry of the modern researcher. Since the organic parts of the weapon – wood, bone, cord and feathers – very rarely survive, the deduction that a bow and arrow was in use depends heavily on the examination of certain classes of stone artefacts and their context. Here the authors apply rigorous analytical reasoning to the task, and demonstrate that, conforming to their exacting checklist, is an early assemblage from Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, which therefore suggests bow and arrow technology in use there 64 millennia ago.
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