In a new study, scientists have discovered that the New Guinea warriors used deadly human bone daggers to face their rivals. Yes, the human bone daggers are not like the ordinary knife. These sharp weapons are far superior to the knives and could outperform the daggers made form thighbones of cassowaries, flightless, dinosaur-like birds. According to the study, the daggers crafted from human thighbones are stronger than those made from the thighbones of cassowaries.
The main reason behind this superiority of the human bone dagger is the way the New Guinea people carved the weapons. The daggers were intricately carved and beautifully shaped and stood from the rest of the weapons.
Lead author of the study Nathaniel Dominy, a professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire said, “It looks like both bone types are equally suited for making daggers. The difference is that when men are shaping human daggers, they’re retaining a lot of the curvature, which gives it a natural, superior strength.”Dominy further added that as the cassowary bone draggers were pretty flat and less curved, they were not as strong as the human bone draggers.
The research on the draggers started when Dominy got hold of a bunch of draggers that were made from cassowary and human thighbones. These draggers were around 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. Dominy found the exquisitely carved draggers at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. Initial investigation suggested that the people of New Guinea used these close-combat bone draggers to kill outright or finish off victims wounded with arrows or spears, by stabbing them in the neck. Further study made by Dominy and his team revealed that the human bone draggers were not only meant to tear the flesh and extract blood, they were also used for mutilation and cannibalism.
The human draggers were mostly used in the 19th century and were a prized possession for the New Guinea warriors. “Human bone daggers have to be sourced from a really important person, You can’t just take the bone of any ordinary person. It has to be your father or someone who was respected in the community,” informed Dominy. So, the human bone draggers were made from the bone of a well-known or respected person and symbolized the rights, powers and spiritual strength of the person.