When Neanderthals are depicted in artistic reconstructions, they often have a spear in hand. Most archaeologists believe that Neanderthals were adept hunters, and we have found spears at Neanderthal sites. But our knowledge of how they used spears and how that compares with our own species has been inconclusive. Rather than using the spears for hunting, Neanderthals could have used them for self-defense or scavenging.
But it turns out they didn’t. New research, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, shows that Neanderthals did indeed use spears to hunt animals. The paper describes a collection of 120,000-year-old deer bones from the Neanderthal site of Neumark-Nord in Germany—two of which have perforations that clearly show impacts from a spear.