KOMPAS.com - A 31,000-year-old skeleton found in a remote area in Indonesia is rewriting what we know about early medicine medical procedures according to a new study published in the weekly scientific Nature journal on Wednesday.
Scientists say that the skeleton of a young adult discovered in a cave in Borneo is the oldest known example of successful limb amputation.
"It rewrites our understanding of the development of this medical knowledge," said Tim Maloney — a research fellow at Australia's Griffith University — who led the work.
Prehistoric child’s amputation is oldest surgery of its kind https://t.co/psnHeak5Z6— nature (@Nature) September 7, 2022
Discovery comfortably predates the previous example
The oldest previous known example of a limb amputation had been a roughly 7,000-year-old skeleton from France, whose left forearm had been surgically removed and then had partially healed. This led researchers to believe that operations of this nature took place in established agricultural societies.
The latest discovery turns that notion on its head and suggests that Stone Age hunter-gathers had a far more sophisticated understanding of anatomy and wound treatment than previously thought.
The skeleton was initially uncovered in 2020 in the Liang Tebo cave which is known for its ancient examples of rock art, going back 40,000 years.
When the skeleton was discovered it was found to be missing the lower part of the left leg, along with the left foot. Upon further examination it was found that the bones were not just missing, they had been removed. The remaining part of the left leg showed a clean cut that showed regrowth and had no evidence of trauma like crushing or splintering.