S’true doll! Stone Age Saffers loved leopard skin

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S’true doll! Stone Age Saffers loved leopard skin

Dig finds bones of the big cats with markings that prove they were carefully skinned

Cape Town bureau chief

A cave in the Western Cape that produced the earliest evidence of humans’ use of symbols, in the form of engravings on ostrich-egg water containers, has gone one better.

Bones found in Diepkloof Rock Shelter, about 14km inland from the modern-day surfing hotspot of Elands Bay on the west coast, suggest the cave’s Stone Age inhabitants skinned leopards to use their fur in what archaeologists call “highly codified and symbolically loaded cultural traditions”.

Fourteen years of excavations in the 375m² shelter unearthed 61 bones from at least 18 cats, including three leopards and seven African wildcats...

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