Ancient skeleton reveals amputation surgery 31,000 years ago

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A skeleton discovered in a remote corner of Borneo rewrites the history of ancient medicine and proves amputation surgery was successfully carried out about 31,000 years ago, scientists said Wednesday.

Previously, the earliest known amputation in-volved a 7,000-year-old skeleton found in France, and experts believed such operations only emerged in settled agricultural societies. The finding also suggests that Stone Age hunter-gatherers living in what is now Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province had sophisticated medical knowledge of anatomy and wound treatment.

“It rewrites our understanding of the develop-ment of this medical knowledge,” said Tim Maloney, a research fellow at Australia’s Griffith University, who led the work. The skeleton was uncovered in 2020 in the im-posing Liang Tebo cave known for its wall paintings dating back 40,000 years.—AFP

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