Impresionante descubrimiento israelí: hace 300.000 años el hombre prehistórico sabía controlar la temperatura del calor

el hombre prehistórico sabía controlar la temperatura del calor para crear diferentes tipos de herramientas.
el hombre prehistórico sabía controlar la temperatura del calor para crear diferentes tipos de herramientas.

Investigadores del Instituto de Ciencia Weizmann y de la Universidad de Tel Aviv descubrieron que hace 300.000 años el hombre prehistórico sabía controlar la temperatura del calor para crear diferentes tipos de herramientas.

Nuestros antepasados ​​no solo sabían prender el fuego. También controlaban su temperatura para fabricar herramientas.
Así lo indica un estudio conjunto del Instituto de Ciencias Weizmann y la Universidad de Tel Aviv. Fue publicado ayer (lunes) en la revista científica Nature Human Behavior.
Los investigadores aplicaron sus propias tecnologías sofisticadas para comprender la forma en que se fabricaban a finales de la Edad de Piedra un conjunto de herramientas encontradas en una cueva en la región central de Israel.
Las conclusiones del estudio indican que hace 300.000 años el hombre ya sabía utilizar el calor controlado a diferentes temperaturas. Lo utilizaba para fabricar diferentes tipos de herramientas.
En el año 2000, el profesor Avi Gopher y el profesor Ran Barkai de la Universidad de Tel Aviv descubrieron la Cueva de Qesem. Es ahí donde se conservaron los restos de una cultura que habitó la región en un periodo de entre 200.000 y 400.000 años de antigüedad.
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Sus pobladores vivían en esa cueva y dejaron allí decenas de miles de herramientas.
Una de las más importantes son las afiladas hojas de piedra talladas en sílex.  Eran utilizadas para todo tipo de actividades, incluida la caza de ciervos.
el hombre prehistórico sabía controlar la temperatura del calor para crear diferentes tipos de herramientas..
El hombre prehistórico sabía controlar la temperatura del calor para crear diferentes tipos de herramientas..
El doctor Filipe Natalio, de la Unidad de Arqueología Científica del Instituto de Ciencias Weizmann, y sus compañeros de investigación partieron de la pregunta de si, con el propósito de preparar las hojas y otras herramientas, los habitantes de las cavernas usaban el fuego para mejorar la capacidad de cincelado de los bloques de sílex.
Hasta ahora existe evidencia del uso controlado del calor para estos fines solo en culturas muy posteriores, de menos de 100.000 años de antigüedad.
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«La primera dificultad para saber si el sílex presentaba cambios en su estructura como resultado de la exposición al fuego es el hecho de que su estructura no es estable. Varía de un lugar a otro e incluso de una roca a otra, dependiendo de las condiciones geológicas en las que se formó», explica el doctor Natalio.
«Además, la evidencia de la aplicación de calor a la roca sólida suele ser de microscópica a invisible», añade.
Para abordar estos desafíos, Natalio y el doctor Aviad Agam, especialista en arqueología prehistórica, se comunicaron con el doctor Ido Pinkas, experto en una técnica conocida como espectroscopia Raman.
Antes de acercarse a los hallazgos arqueológicos, los científicos recolectaron fragmentos de sílex de lugares cercanos a la Cueva de Qesem y otras regiones alejadas. Los calentaron en un horno a diferentes temperaturas y los examinaron luego en el laboratorio de espectroscopía del doctor Pinkas.

Si bien los científicos lograron revelar la estructura de las piedras hasta su nivel molecular, la cantidad de información fue demasiado amplia para permitir sacar conclusiones.

Allí los investigadores acudieron a Ido Azouri, doctor de la Unidad de Bioinformática.

Aunque este no es su área habitual de estudios, Azouri logró encontrar patrones en los fragmentos de sílex obtenidos a partir del «horneado» de las piedras.

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Mediante métodos de inteligencia artificial pudieron reconstruir los grados de calor aplicados a cada uno de los bloques de piedra.

El siguiente paso fue aplicar el análisis espectroscópico y la inteligencia artificial a muestras seleccionadas al azar. Lo hicieron entre los miles de hallazgos arqueológicos de la cueva mágica.

Los científicos descubrieron tres niveles de calor diferentes aplicados a tres tipos de elementos antiguos. El primer tipo: fragmentos desprendidos de la roca como resultado de la exposición del sílex a fuego directo a una temperatura de hasta 600 grados centígrados.

El segundo, polvo de sílex esparcido como parte de los trabajos de mampostería de los habitantes de las cavernas. Ese polvo remite a rangos de temperatura elevados.

Y el tercer tipo de calor encontrado fue el aplicado a las hojas. Herramientas grandes, alargadas, en forma de cuchillo, con una nervadura afilada y una segunda nervadura roma que permitía el agarre.

A diferencia de los fragmentos de polvo de mampostería, las hojas daban evidencia de una exposición al fuego a temperaturas más bajas, de entre 200 y 300 grados centígrados.

“No sabemos cómo los habitantes de las cavernas aprendieron a hacer las herramientas o cómo lograron controlar el proceso. Pero los hallazgos indican claramente una tecnología consistente para producir hojas a partir de materias primas tratadas con calor controlado, que difiere de la forma en que se fabrican otras herramientas.

Este hecho indica una planificación basada en el conocimiento». Así lo sostiene el doctor Natalio. Y Pinkas agrega: “Esto es tecnología, como nuestros teléfonos celulares y computadoras. Una tecnología que les permitió a nuestros antepasados ​​sobrevivir y prosperar».

Ynet en español

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