Stone Age skeleton may show oldest amputation

The person appears to have lived for around six to nine more years after losing the limb, eventually dying from unknown causes as a young adult, researchers say.

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World News

September 7, 2022 - 3:24 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The 31,000-year-old skeleton of a young adult found in a cave in Indonesia that is missing its left foot and part of its left leg reveal the oldest known evidence of an amputation, according to a new study.

Scientists say the amputation was performed when the person was a child — and that the “patient” went on to live for years as an amputee. The prehistoric surgery could show that humans were making medical advances much earlier than previously thought, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Researchers were exploring a cave in Borneo, in a rainforest region known for having some of the earliest rock art in the world, when they came across the grave, said Tim Maloney, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Australia and the study’s lead researcher.

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