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Experimental Use of Clovis Weaponry and Tools on African Elephants

George C. Frison
American Antiquity
Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct., 1989), pp. 766-784
DOI: 10.2307/280681
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/280681
Page Count: 19
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Experimental Use of Clovis Weaponry and Tools on African Elephants
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Abstract

Clovis projectile points and chipped-stone tools have been recovered in a number of archaeological sites in the New World, but these cannot be tested on mammoths, which we know from the archaeological evidence Clovis hunters were able to procure. Extensive culling of elephants in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe provided the necessary animals to test replicas of Clovis tools and weaponry. The experiments leave little doubt that Clovis projectile points can inflict lethal wounds on African elephants and that simple stone tools will perform the necessary butchering tasks. The physiology of mammoths and elephants is similar enough to make positive statements on the potential of this kind of stone-tool and weaponry assemblage, but we will never be able to compare elephant and mammoth behavior directly.

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