Humans were deep-sea fishing 42,000 years ago

Sunday, April 15, 2012 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: humans, deep-sea fishing, archeology

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
CDC issues flu vaccine apology: this year's vaccine doesn't work!
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
Tetanus vaccines found spiked with sterilization chemical to carry out race-based genocide against Africans
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Top ten things you need to do NOW to protect yourself from an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
FDA targets Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for sharing health benefits of coconut oil
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Why flu shots are the greatest medical fraud in history
Governments seize colloidal silver being used to treat Ebola patients, says advocate
Flu vaccine kills 13 in Italy; death toll rises

(NaturalNews) New archaeological findings show that human beings were already deep-sea fishing at least 42,000 years ago, which is 30,000 years earlier than previously believed.

"All the bones we got inside were just the result of human meals, 40,000 years ago," said researcher Sue O'Connor of the Australian National University. "They were living in that shelter and we are fortunate that all the materials are preserved so well in that limestone cave, which preserves bone and shell really well."

Writing in the journal "Science," Australian and Japanese researchers recount their discovery of three fish hooks and almost 39,000 fish bones in a limestone cave in Jerimalai, East Timor. The cave is just 300 meters (985 feet) from the shore and 50 meters (165 feet) above sea level. Because all the hooks and bones were found in a single 1 meter (3 foot)-square "test pit", further excavation is likely to produce even more results.

The hooks were made from the shell of a large sea snail known as a Trochus.

"They are very strong shell ... we think they just put bait on and dropped the hook in the water from a boat (at the) edge of a reef," O'Connor said.

Although the archaeologists found bones from 23 different fish species, including emperors, groupers, parrotfish, snappers, trevallies, triggerfish and unicornfish, nearly half of all bones belonged to pelagic tuna fish.

And while the fish hooks found in the cave are only between 16,000 and 23,000 years old, the presence of so many fish bones from 42,000 years ago strongly indicates open-sea fishing.

"Parrotfish and unicorn were probably caught on baited hooks ... but tuna are deepwater, fast-moving fish," O'Connor said. "Tuna and trevallies were probably caught by lure fishing."

Clues to Our Past

Previously, the oldest evidence of open-sea fishing dated to only 12,000 years ago. Yet human beings were obviously able to traverse long oceanic distances at least 50,000 years ago, which is when they crossed from Asia to Australia. The new findings raise the possibility that the development of deep-sea fishing may have been one of the innovations that allowed humans to settle the remote islands out past New Guinea, such as the Solomon Islands.

Researchers do not know whether the fish hooks were being used in deep sea fishing or only in other types of fishing. It also remains to be seen whether the archaeologists will find any older fish hooks when they explore the site more fully.

"[The hooks] must have been attached with strong fiber lines of some kind, string, but we really don't know whether they were using this kind of fishing technology at 42,000 years ago," said archaeologist Chris Clarkson of the University of Queensland. "They may well have been out in boats with nets. They may have been spear fishing but certainly by sort of 20,000 years ago it seems that they were using strong, fiber lines and probably hand casting or dangling these fish hooks off the edge of some kind of boat."

Humans have been eating fish for at least 1.9 million years, since before the evolution of the species Homo sapiens. Scientists believe that the earliest humans caught fish by wading into freshwater streams and lakes and using only spears or other simple tools. According to researcher Kathlyn Stewart of the Canadian Museum of Nature, who was not involved in the study, the first ocean fishers probably used boats made from lashed together logs, and caught fish with nets and with fish hooks made from wood or shells. It is unknown how far out to sea these first fishing peoples ever ventured.

Sources for this article include:

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.