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>A trio of researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada theorizes that ritualistic finger amputation during the Upper Paleolithic explains the number of missing fingers in depictions from that time. In their paper published in the Journal of Paleolithic Archeology, Brea McCauley, David Maxwell and Mark Collard outline the reasons for their theory, even as they acknowledge more evidence is required to prove it.

>Archeologists studying art on walls by early humans of the Upper Paleolithic have found a lot of pictures of hands with missing fingers—much of the art consists of hand prints or outlines of hands. And a lot of those hands appear to be missing a finger or two, or even three or four. The researchers with this new effort note that rough conditions could account for missing fingers, particularly frostbite. But it seems like more fingers are missing than would seem likely—people learn not to let their fingers freeze, for example. Also, the missing-fingered art appears in some places that are too warm for widespread frostbite. The sheer numbers suggest something else is going on.

>In Grotte de Gargas, in France, for example, 114 out of 231 hand images have missing fingers. In another cave in France, the average is even higher, 28 out of 49. The researchers also note that hand paintings on the cave walls at Grotte de Gargas appear quite flat, ruling out the possibility that some fingers were simply held back as the print was being made. They also looked at history books and found that 121 groups of people living on different continents have been found to engage in finger amputation rituals.

>The researchers note that finger amputation rituals could take many forms—some early people might have done it as part of a religious ceremony or as a way to mourn the loss of a loved one. Others may have had it done to them as part of a punishment ritual.
I was unaware the Yakuza had roots that far back
Havent you seen Looper?
In the future the Crime syndicates have time travel
So how do they know these are actual missing fingers and not paleolithic gang signs or something?
Too flat against the wall for bent fingers.

Maybe they were just learning to count the hard way.
They don't know for sure, they pretty much admit that. They just think it's the most likely explanation.

Par for the course for archaeologists.
I doubt that many cultures would willingly amputate their fingers-fingers are too necessary back then especially.
Today I was reading a book about the rise in primates and specifically humanity, and I read about the old man of Shanidar. Turns out his right arm was withered, but the tribe must have cared for him, so as you can see it was probably due to their fingers moving while trying to paint.

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