A third of the Neanderthal remains on this site display cut marks, and many remains bear percussion marks
caused when the bones were crushed to extract the marrow.
"Cut marks, peeling, and percussion marks
show that the corpses of these individuals were processed in keeping with the mimetic mode used with other mammal carcasses: skinning, defleshing, dismembering, evisceration, and periosteum (membrane that lines bones) and marrow extraction," according to the researchers.
Fossilised bones bearing clear evidence of stone tool use -- cut marks inflicted while carving meat off the bone and percussion marks
created while breaking the bones open to extract marrow have been found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia.
The resulting pits and grooves or "percussion marks
" on the bones, usually found near the notches created by the impact of stone, look much like carnivore tooth marks at first glance, the researchers report in the June 24 NATURE.