August 21, 2015 | David F. Coppedge

Give Early Man More Credit

From cave to Stone Age, ancient people deserve more respect for their intelligence and capabilities than evolutionary anthropologists give them.

Whether they want to, or are wont to, anthropologists frequently disparage early man as primitive. They believe that as far back as two million years ago (in their evolutionary timeline), members of the genus Homo were our equals in stature and brain size, able to use tools and fire and cross continents, but must have been too stupid to advance beyond hunting and gathering. All the way to the earliest onset of civilization, early people get a bad rap. That evolutionary belief is a set-up for conflicts with hard evidence, because the silent testimony of human bones and artifacts have a way of outwitting their modern interpreters.

Butcher chop: Are the scrape marks on these bones from Ethiopia natural or man-made? If the latter, that’s astonishing, because Live Science says they are 3.4 million years old. That would be far earlier than alleged human ancestors were thought to possess hands and brains like moderns, in the evolutionary scenario; they should have been more Lucy-like. “If that latter hypothesis turns out to be true, it would mean hominins — the group of species that consists of humans and their relatives after the split from the chimpanzee lineage — were butchering animals 800,000 years earlier than scientists had previously thought.” The article says “the news was considered shocking” in 2010 when stone tools were found 2.6 million years old—and now this. Making tools requires “planning and foresight,” scientists admit. “If early hominins were using tools so early,” a paleoanthropologist from the Smithsonian commented, “that means their cognitive abilities were also more advanced than previously thought.” Supposedly they kept passing on the same hunt-and-gather butchering career for 3.39 million more years until one of them thought of ranching and farming.

Hand for tools: What’s more iconic for human ability than a hand? The press recently got excited about a finger bone published by Nature Communications that the authors call the “earliest modern human-like hand bone.” John McNabb at The Conversation titled his take, “Oldest human-like hand bone may help us understand the evolution of tool making.” He speculates about what Homo made it, but New Scientist smells trouble: “Oldest hand hints we came down from trees earlier than thought.” This implies that human ancestors also started making tools earlier than thought. The bone, found at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, is claimed to be 1.84 million years old (wow; three significant figures). Live Science puts this date at the boundary of paleontology and archaeology; would the Homo erectus that presumably operated this hand fail to make good use of it for a million more years?

Bigger is not better: Time to debunk a myth. Bernard Wood (George Washington U) comments in Science Daily on new findings that body size did not differ significantly among any of the alleged human ancestors. The old notion that early hominid ancestors were smaller and gradually grew in stature is “just the first of many preconceptions about early Homo that will be debunked in the next few years,” Wood says. A lot rides on that assumption that began with a paper by Henry McHenry in 1992, largely trusted till a new study based on more fossils and better techniques overturned it.  Another false assumption is that sexual dimorphism decreased as man evolved; if there was any change, it was slight. The article says, “As almost all of the hows and whys of human evolution are tied to estimates of body size at particular points in time, these results challenge numerous adaptive hypotheses based around the idea that the origins of Homo coincided with, or were driven by, an increase in body mass.” Meaning: all our ancestors were basically human-like.

Pitcher, not a hairy itcher: “Did chucking stones make us more human?National Geographic rhetorically asks about circumstantial evidence for rock-throwing 1.8 million years ago. That’s a Lamarckian proposal, unless they can point to a genetic mutation that made throwing smooth cobblestones a path to reproductive fitness. It also raises questions about the migratory abilities of creatures similar to those from Tanzania who possessed those tool-making hands. The stand-out comment by a researcher at the Homo erectus site in Dmanisi, Georgia is this: “They were cleverer than we think.

Neanderthal family life: More evidence that Neanderthals interbred with modern humans and had fertile offspring that lasted generations was published this month in Nature. This supports the growing opinion that they were in the same species as modern humans, not something less. The specimen found was located in modern-day Romania. If Neanderthals migrated all over Africa to Asia and Europe, and could still breed with “Man the wise” (Homo sapiens) they were not dummies. Apparently their mates didn’t think so, either.

Human nature: The propensity for short-sighted convenience that tempts us all was alive and well 10,000 to 80,000 years ago, Science Daily indicates. Anthropologists named in the article cite clear evidence that it was early man’s fault for wiping out the “megafauna” (large mammals) on several continents.  It indicates these people were savvy and courageous, albeit unwise, to take on sabre-tooth cats and giant bears bigger and stronger than they were. Most likely they didn’t wait for the animals to show up at the cave, but went out purposefully to rid themselves of pests, or for sport, like the dragon-slayers of yore and buffalo shooters of more recent times. Poachers today are short-sighted and unwise, but nobody would call them mentally retarded or subhuman. On the other hand, Nature published a theory almost at the same time that suggests the big beasts died of climate change. This debate has gone on a long, long time.

Mesolithic intelligent design: A monolith spanning 39 feet lies under 130 of water in the Mediterranean, Live Science reports. How did it get there? Anthropologists think it is 10,000 years old, erected when the sea level was lower. The article provides a tasty morsel of design inference: “There are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements,” a discoverer reasoned. A hole in the monolith suggests that its builders might have intended it as a lighthouse, with a spot to hold a torch, but that’s just a guess. The article also follows our theme: anthropologists need to upgrade their respect for early man.

“The monolith found — made of a single, large block — required a cutting, extraction, transportation and installation, which undoubtedly reveals important technical skills and great engineering,” the researchers wrote in the study. “The belief that our ancestors lacked the knowledge, skill and technology to exploit marine resources or make sea crossings, must be progressively abandoned.

Stone Age Britain: In what National Geographic calls an “insane building boom,” early Britons living 4,500 years ago created monuments 10 times larger than Stonehenge. “For all the attention that has been lavished on Stonehenge over the years,” says Jim Leary (U of Reading), “we may well find out that Marden was where it was really at during the Neolithic.” A BBC News story about all the pre-civilization monuments being discovered around Britain is even more critical of today’s expert opinion: “Have we underestimated our ancestors?” the headline asks. The experts thought the hunter-gatherers left no trace, but “Evidence from a variety of sources suggests that early Britons were more sophisticated than we could have imagined.” At Blick Mead, for instance, archaeologists have found evidence of a “much more complex society” that existed centuries or millennia before Stonehenge.

Taken together, the flint and other stone tool evidence suggest that Blick Mead was a feasting and gathering place for thousands of years that people travelled large distances to reach. Far from it being a place nomads dropped into once in a while, time would have been spent there, ideas exchanged and new technologies discussed and adapted.

Carbon footprint: Surprisingly, the first farmers helped slow down climate change. New Scientist and Astrobiology Magazine say that the dawn of agriculture beginning about 8,000 years ago altered the flow of water into deserts, creating a vast carbon sink. “The process begins when humans start to grow crops in the sandy soil,” New Scientist says. “As the plants suck carbon dioxide out of the air, some is released into the sand and more is added by microbes that break down nutrients in the soil.” No one is claiming, however, that the early farmers did this on purpose. It’s just interesting that their purposeful activity to eat had this unexpected effect. It also represents another case of inference to intelligent design on the part of the researchers—distinguishing human activity from “natural” processes. “Although this process of carbon burial occurs naturally, the scientists estimate that the amount of carbon disappearing under the Tarim Desert each year is almost 12 times higher because of agriculture,” Science Daily says.

We can relate to all these early people on a deep intellectual and spiritual level. They seem like us: more than mere animals, but having to eat and answer the calls of nature to live, socialize, and raise families. Possessing hands with opposable thumbs and large brains, they seem no less exceptional than we tool-makers today, except that we have the benefit of thousands of years of recorded know-how.

Look at the so-called “Homo erectus hominids” throwing rocks and making tools. They had hands like ours. They had brains like ours. Maybe some were smaller in stature, but they were members of Homo, the human family. How intelligent is it to surmise that these people spent over  three million years in the same habits, not one of them ever thinking to plant a farm, make a permanent dwelling, or domesticate a useful animal? The evolutionist has to believe that tens of thousands of years passed before “Neanderthals” appeared out of nowhere, colonizing much of the old world, making tools and art. Imagine the credulity of thinking the Neanderthals happened upon “modern man” and were able to have fertile offspring with them despite “evolving separately” for a long, long time (much longer than recorded human history). The notion gets crazier the more you think about it. Continuing on, it gets even more absurd—because now evolutionists have to believe that tens of thousands of years more would pass before farming, ranching and architecture emerged in some unexplained, explosive manner.

This crazy belief system depends upon long ages—the moyboy addiction. Evolutionary anthropologists cling to Charlie & Charlie’s timeframe (Darwin and Lyell) like their lucky rabbit’s foot, thinking it is the path to understanding. They need some serious rehab. We need to help them take the data and acid-wash the moyboy whitewash off of it. What makes sense after the whitewash is removed? If all these bones are much younger, the data fall neatly into place. Homo erectus, Neanderthal man, and modern humans were not separated by vast stretches of time, but were contemporaries with the same basic human nature, just varying in some physical traits (as do tribes of people today). They were interfertile. They may have tended to stay in tribal groups that migrated after the Flood. This would have led to inbreeding within limited gene pools, accentuating certain traits, but these people never lost their human nature.

If it’s racist to look at isolated Amazonian tribespeople as less evolved than us (see how Current Biology stays politically correct), it’s racist to look down on Homo erectus or Neanderthals. Times were tough after the Flood and, later, after Babel. The Earth was still adjusting. Sea levels were changing. Early man had a big ice age and newly emerging ecosystems to deal with.  But human nature survived—both the good and evil sides of it.  It took time to rediscover lost technologies, but it didn’t take tens or hundreds of thousands of years. The picture makes much more sense when you remove the useless requirement of fitting it into Charlie & Charlie’s calendar.

The secular anthropologists themselves admit to underestimating early people. They’ve been racists. Do your duty; demand they be fired for incompetence. Then take a new look at Genesis 1-11.

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