(CNN)– Many people are familiar with the African roots of the human family tree.
But in recent years, a spate of shocking fossil and DNA discoveries in Asia has forced a radical rethink of our family saga.
Types of extinct humans entirely new to us have been found there, including relatives nicknamed little “hobbits” and the burly “dragon man,” as well as three little pigs painted on a cave wall that turned out to be the world’s oldest figurative art.
This week, prepare to be wowed by another promising fossil find from the region that reveals just how sophisticated and knowledgeable our ancient ancestors were.
We are family
In a remote cave in Borneo, Indonesia, archaeologists have made a discovery that upends our understanding of the Stone Age: an amputee who lived 31,000 years ago.
The young man’s skeleton was missing the lower part of his left leg, which Australian and Indonesian researchers believe was carefully sheared off just above the ankle by a surprisingly skilled prehistoric surgeon, probably using stone tools.
Just a century ago, most people who underwent amputation would have died, either from blood loss and shockor by a subsequent infection.
According to research, this Stone Age surgery was not only a success, but the amputee lived another six to nine years, eventually dying of natural causes before being gently buried by his caretakers.