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12,000-year-old Animal Bones Found in Mazandaran Caves


Tehran, Apr. 9 (CHN) - Archaeologists have found 1000 pieces of animal bones dating to 12,000 years ago in Gomishan Cave of the northern province of Mazandaran. A great part of these bones belong to foxes, but it is not yet clear why they have been hunted.

The bones belong to large hoofed and herbivorous animals hunted by cavemen some 12,000 years ago.

Caves of Mazadaran province are of great importance among caves of Iran. Preliminary studies on these caves show that people dwelled in some of them as early as 13,000 years ago. A research center has recently been established to carry out new studies on these caves. Previous works in the caves date back to 1951 carried out by an American team of archaeologists.

According to head of caves research center, Ali Mahforouzi, Gomishan Cave was selected as the first site to undergo studies, and some 1000 pieces of animal bones, belonging to wild and herbivorous animals, have so far discovered there.

The bones have been analyzed by an Iranian paleozoologist based in France, Marjan Mashkour. She has identified some of the bones as belonging to large hoofed animals hunted by cavemen 12,000 years ago, and some as belonging to ghazals, wild cows, and wild sheep-like animals.

A large number of fox bones have also been identified among the bones, but it is not yet clear why they have been hunted. Since fox meat is not eatable, Mahforouzi believes that like the modern days, they should have been hunted for their skin.

Some of the discovered bones are of small herbivorous animals and have been sent to France for further studies.

Gomishan Cave is one of the many caves located near Gohar Tepe and Abbas Abad Tepe of Behshar, Mazandaran. Pottery discovered there dates back to the sixth millennium BC, the same time life started to develop in Abbas Abad. Mahforouzi explains that in the sixth millennium BC, humans probably left caves and started dwelling in villages such as that of Abbas Abad Tepe. Later on and from the fifth millennium BC onward, urban life started to develop in Gohar Tepe.

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