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Evidence of Stone Age amputation forces rethink over history of surgery

January 26, 2010

The surgeon was dressed in a goat or sheep skin and used a sharpened stone to amputate the arm of his patient.

The operating theatre was not exactly Harley Street — more probably a wooden shelter — but the intervention was a success, and it has shed light on the medical talents of our Stone Age ancestors.

Scientists unearthed evidence of the surgery during work on an Early Neolithic tomb discovered at Buthiers-Boulancourt, about 40 miles (65km) south of Paris. They found that a remarkable degree of medical knowledge had been used to remove the left forearm of an elderly man about 6,900 years ago — suggesting that the true Flintstones were more developed than previously thought.

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