Australian archaeologists have discovered in East Timor, the oldest known hooks in the world, and fossils prove that prehistoric people mastered the deep-sea fishing, according to a study published Friday in the journal Science.
Carved from a shell there are between 16,000 and 23,000 years, the hook "confirms that our ancestors were good craftsmen and good fishing," said Professor Sue O'Connor, the Australian National University.
It does not seem designed for pelagic fishing, and methods used in the Paleolithic to catch fish in deep water are unknown.
In addition to using the net, "it is possible that the hooks of another type have been manufactured at the same time," said Sue O'Connor.
The hook was unearthed in the cave of Jerimalai, East Timor, along with more than 38,000 bones belonging to 2,843 fish from fishing, and 42,000 years old.
Among the fish species are found living in deep water. Sue O'Connor, "the site tells us that early modern humans on the island of South-East Asia had very advanced maritime skills."
"They were masters in the art of capturing prey that are difficult, even today, such as tuna," she said.
Cave Jerimalai is evidence of the oldest human presence in the islands of this region, located on the "routes" north-south migration used by the first men who inhabited Australia. AFP