CAVEMEN carried out medical amputations more than 30,000 years ago — and the patients survived, scientists have discovered.

The prehistoric procedures were tens of thousands of years before the discovery of antiseptics — normally a must to fight off post-surgery infections usually leading to death.

The remains, which have been dated to 31,000 years old, mark the oldest evidence for amputation yet discovered

The ‘clean sloping cut’ on the remains excludes the accidental loss of a foot, say experts

Artist’s impression issued of an individual who had their lower left leg amputated as a child and survived into early adulthood

Experts found the skeleton in a cave in Borneo of a Stone Age human male who had his left foot surgically removed — and lived around another ten years.

The patient is believed to have been aged around 11 when his foot was cut off. A “clean sloping cut” excludes an accident, experts said.

They reckon this “remarkable” find is the first example of a complex operation and “rewrites history of human medical knowledge”.

Amputations require detailed understanding of human anatomy and good hygiene.



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Before antiseptics were first used in the 19th century, most patients died from blood loss, shock or infection.

Tim Maloney, of Australia’s Griffith University, told journal Nature that it shows “a really strong case the community had developed advanced medical understandings”.

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