Bone tools have been documented from the advent of Homo sapiens and are also known from Homo neanderthalensis contexts or even earlier. Bone has been used for making tools by virtually all hunter-gatherer societies, even when other materials were readily available. Any part of the skeleton can potentially be utilized; however, antlers and long bones provide some of the best working material. Long bone fragments can be shaped, by scraping against an abrasive stone, into such items as arrow and spear points, needles, awls, and fish hooks.
As an organic material, bone often does not survive in a way that is archaeologically recoverable. However, under the right conditions, bone tools do sometimes survive and many have been recovered from locations around the world representing time periods throughout history and prehistory. Also many examples have been collected ethnographically, and some traditional peoples, as well as experimental archaeologists, continue to use bone to make tools.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution (when machine mass production of sharp tools became viable), many everyday tools such as needles were made from bone; such items continue to be valued today as antiques.
Bone folders are still used by bookbinders.
Famous quotes containing the words tool and/or bone:
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—Charles Horton Cooley (18641929)
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—Humphry, Sir Davy (17781829)