The piece belongs to a flat bone, possibly the mandible, the scapula (scapula) or the pelvis of a fairly large animal like the horse or the auroch, the ancestor of our domestic cows. It dates back 39,600 years. A contextual dating, since the bone was not cut in order to preserve its entirety. It was pieces of coal discovered in the same layer of sediment that revealed its age.
The question was why humans had perforated the fragment. What could it be used for? Luc Doyon and his colleagues put forward the idea that it could be a tool for piercing skins to make clothing, but they still had to prove it.
At the time, humans (Homo sapiens) who populated the region – and Europe – were Aurignacians, a nomadic Upper Paleolithic society known for their use of a series of bone tools to work flint, make jewelry, objects of x27;art and other instruments.
It is also the first culture to leave lasting traces of figurative art, such as statuettes in mammoth ivory.
Moreover, punctuations created on a bone by the Aurignacians could simply be decorative or symbolic.
Hypotheses that Luc Doyon and his colleagues did not accept.
When they [punctuations] are decorative, they usually appear on sculpted figurines. The small dots are an allegory of the fur of an animal or the clothing of an anthropomorphic figure, notes Mr. Doyon.
The decorative aspect was quickly abandoned because the piece of bone was not shaped. It's just a broken piece. But the symbolic aspect was more difficult to dismiss, adds Mr. Doyon.
We have 10 aligned punctuations, but under the microscope, we spotted 18 others barely visible and sometimes even one on top of the other.