World's Oldest Fishhooks Found in Southeast Asia

World's Oldest Fishhooks Found in Southeast Asia

Oldest fish hooksLooks like fishing is an even older tradition than we thought.

Archeologists recently discovered a stash of prehistoric fishhooks in a limestone cave in the southeast Asian country of East Timor, according to reports.

Australian archeologist Sue O'Connor and her colleagues discovered the hooks, which are made from shells, and dated the hooks as far back as 42,000 years.

Before the discovery, the oldest fishhook was believed to be 5,500 years old.


In addition, the early anglers clearly had some success, as the team discovered more than 38,000 fish bones at the site, including some offshore species such as tuna. There was even evidence of humans eating sharks and rays at the site.


"That these types of fish were being routinely caught 40,000 years ago is extraordinary," O'Connor said. "It requires complex technology and shows that early modern humans in island South East Asia had amazingly advanced maritime skills."

Researchers speculate that the anglers may have used fiber lines cast from rafts, though the hooks discovered by O'Connor and her team didn't seem suitable for offshore fishing -- however other hooks could have been made, she said.

Humans are believed to have arrived in Australia about 50,000 years ago, but O'Connor's find proves humans had the know-how to craft fishing tools and methods much earlier than previously believed. The tradition likely played a key role in human survival as the anglers crossed the Indian Ocean to Australia.

While older fish bones dating 140,000-50,000 years ago have been discovered in Africa, they belonged to inland species and were likely caught using more primitive methods, researchers said.


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Simms Flyweight Wader

Simms Flyweight Wader

Constructed of three different kinds of Gore-Tex fabric, the Simms Flyweight Wader is durable, breathable, and features stretch in key areas of movement and stress that happen during a day of wade fishing out on a fast flowing trout stream.

Tackle Test 2020: Lew

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

How to Rig a Fishing Kayak

How to Rig a Fishing Kayak

Outfit your 'yak for summertime angling in 6 easy steps.

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

In this ICAST Fishing Gear Guide video, Mark Mills with Daiwa and Florida Sportsman's Jeff Weakley talk off-shore fishing gear.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them. Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

On windy summer days when the crappie have gone to deep-water brush piles, what tips and tricks are necessary to catch a limit of slabs? Fishing How-To

How to Catch Summertime's Deepwater Crappie

Game & Fish Staff

On windy summer days when the crappie have gone to deep-water brush piles, what tips and...

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Conservation & Politics

NSSF: Modern Sporting Rifles and Today's Voter

Larry Keane - July 20, 2020

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

See More Trending Articles

More Walleye

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for walleyes in early summer. Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

Summer Playbook: Action abounds both on and off the water in the Western New York region. Playbook

Family Fishing Getaway: Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Jeff Knapp - July 23, 2020

Summer Playbook: Action abounds both on and off the water in the Western New York region.

Sound and action that convinces even sluggish walleyes to bite. Walleye

SPRO's New MadEye Series Walleye Baits

Game & Fish Staff - May 27, 2020

Sound and action that convinces even sluggish walleyes to bite.

Trolling crankbaits is a go-to on Lake Erie. Here's how to fill your livewell. Walleye

Cranking Up Lake Erie Walleyes

Dan Armitage

Trolling crankbaits is a go-to on Lake Erie. Here's how to fill your livewell.

See More Walleye

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now