Bone Ice Skates Invented for Travel


Human travelers from five millennia ago raced across icy lakes on skates made from animal bones, reports National Geographic News on research appearing in this month’s Linnean Society of London Biological Journal.

News Source

Skating was originally devised for transportation—not for fun—according to the study. In their report, researchers from Italy and the U.K. examined some of the numerous ice-skating artifacts from throughout Scandinavia and Russia, which were made from animal bones (especially horse bones) and have been dated back to 3000 BC.

The team concluded that those living in what is now southern Finland would have had the most to gain from skating as a form of transportation, with skating reducing physical energy expenditures by 10 percent. This area has more lakes within 40 sq. mi. (100 km2) than any other region in the world.

In other areas of northern Europe, the reduction in energy expenditures would have only amounted to about one percent.

“People developed this ingenious locomotion tool in order to travel more quickly and by using not as much energy as if they had walked around all the lakes,” said study coauthor Federico Formenti of the University of Oxford. Formenti’s team tested replicas of bone skates at an ice rink, measuring skaters’ heart rates, oxygen use, and speed.

Anthropologists theorize that cross-country skis arose around the same time, also in Scandinavia.

It’s always fascinating to read about the ingenuity of the humans that came before us—back to our ancestor Adam, to Tubal-Cain (forger of bronze and iron tools), to Noah and his sons, who followed God’s blueprint for the Ark. Humans were created by God not as mentally deficient “cavemen,” but rather as fully intelligent beings in His image—in fact, beings that were, before the Fall, most likely more intelligent than the brightest minds today!

For More Information: Get Answers

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, FOX News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?

(Please note that links will take you directly to the source. Answers in Genesis is not responsible for content on the websites to which we refer. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.)


Get the latest answers emailed to you or sign up for our free print newsletter.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390