Neanderthals Underestimated Again
Neanderthals show mental creativity for too long a period to support the evolutionary timeline.
“Rings of stalagmites found in a cave in France suggest that our ancient relatives were surprisingly skilled builders.” That’s how National Geographic opens its coverage of surprising examples of creative design way, way back in the evolutionary scenario. For a couple of reasons, these structures in Bruniquel Cave, nearly 1,000 feet from the entrance, cannot be the work of stupid brutes.
The strange rings are crafted from stalagmites and are roughly 176,000 years old, scientists report today in Nature. And if the rings were built by a bipedal species, as archaeologists suspect, then they could only be the work of Neanderthals, ancient human relatives that are proving to be much more “human” than anticipated.
“This discovery provides clear evidence that Neanderthals had fully human capabilities in the planning and the construction of ‘stone’ structures, and that some of them penetrated deep into caves, where artificial lighting would have been essential,” says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.
The people spent care to carve 400 stalactites into their design. It’s not known what the structures were for, but they are intricate enough to draw conclusions about their mental capabilities; “the seemingly unmistakable craftwork of builders with a purpose.” That’s an inference to intelligent design. What’s also interesting is that they are unique for this period in the evolutionary scheme. The article states, “The structures are spectacular and have virtually no equivalent for that period, and even for more recent periods.”
The BBC News has a color picture of one of the structures. The cave is nearly pristine, being controlled by the French government for research since it was discovered in the 1990s. New Scientist says that the combined weight of the organized stalactite structures is about two tons.
Cave Art with Altitude
In another cave story, Live Science describes etchings high in the Alps that have just been digitally scanned. The cliff overhangs date from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago, the scientists estimate, and show evidence of habitation into the Bronze Age. Science Daily says that the paintings, though simple, reveal “a story of human occupation and activity in one of the world’s most challenging environments from the Mesolithic to Post-Medieval period.”
Creativity is a sure mark of intelligence. Two evolutionists from the University of Rochester, writing in PNAS, concocted a new theory how that came about. “Extraordinary intelligence,” they say, evolved to take care of babies.
Here we show how natural selection for large brains may lead to premature newborns, which themselves require more intelligence to raise, and thus may select for even larger brains. As we show, these dynamics can be self-reinforcing and lead to runaway selection for extremely high intelligence and helpless newborns. We test a prediction of this account: the helplessness of a primate’s newborns should strongly predict their intelligence. We show that this is so and relate our account to theories of human uniqueness and the question of why human-level intelligence took so long to evolve in the history of life.
If this were a law of nature, then marsupials should have the biggest brains, shouldn’t they? Kangaroo newborns are worm-size, helpless little wretches crawling into a pouch for protection and nourishment. Why is this selection pressure limited to primates? Medical Xpress is no help:
The key is live birth. According to the researchers, the runaway selection of intelligence requires both live birth of a single off spring and large brains, distinctive features of higher mammals.
The scientists claim that dinosaurs and birds matured in the egg, and so don’t fit the requirements. But surely a baby bird is just as helpless when it hatches as a premature infant, requiring its parents to hunt far and wide to keep them fed. In fact, most animals are born helpless. Did the authors think their idea through?
Even if a large brain resulted from baby care, it would not necessarily have the propensities for creativity, language and abstract thought. To show why not, read Sarah Chaffee’s piece on Evolution News & Views. She quotes cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman who gives a pretty solid debunking of “evolutionary epistemology,” the notion that natural selection would favor realism and logic. “Its perceptions will be tuned to fitness, but not to truth,” he explains.
Update 5/27/16: PhysOrg just announced another cave art bonanza, this time in a difficult-to-reach cave in Spain. A thousand feet underground are exquisite drawings of deer, buffalo, goats and horses. Evolutionary scientists place these drawings at 12,500 to 14,500 years ago.
Neanderthals were humans like us, the evidence shows, but that’s not the only important lesson here. In fact, it’s old news (2/22/16, 1/24/06, etc. etc.; search on Neanderthal for much more). What readers need to focus on is the absurdity of the evolutionary timeline, with its hundreds of thousands of imaginary Darwin years. Think about it; to believe the Darwin story, you have to imagine human beings making art, expressing themselves with skill and purpose, and doing nothing else really interesting for 170,000 years. What? That’s over 17 times all of recorded human history. Look how much mankind has achieved since pre-Sumerian agricultural villages. They’ve gone from hunting with spears to exploring Pluto with advanced technological spacecraft!
Ask an evolutionist, “Do you mean to tell me that people with our gifts and talents, able to make fire, cook food, manufacture tools for the hunt and migrate across continents, just sat around in caves for 170,000 years? Are you telling me you really believe that not a single one of them gave a thought to how they could make their lives easier by building permanent shelters of their own, planting their favorite crops, corralling their favorite animals, and learning to ride horses?” Such notions should be laughed out of court. We know what humans do! They are curious, inventive and cooperative. No matter where they are, they build things, innovate and work as teams. The only reason Darwinians believe in those vast imaginary stretches of time is that they have to put the apes millions of years further back, to give natural selection enough time to make apes walk upright and lose their hair.
Who has the stupid story here? Creationists believe humans were always humans, whether barrel-chested like Neanderthals or tall and skinny. Humans are all members of one race, made in the image of God. Their innate, created abilities led them to migrate around the world quickly, building cities and civilizations within decades or centuries, without having to wait in caves for some lucky mutation that produced language. Yet the Darwinians get millions of dollars in research grants and educational funds to promote their myth, and nobody is allowed to question it in public schools and academia. They get all the space in the leading journals, and all the air time on public broadcasting. The media swallows it whole and barfs it back out for the masses. Fight any of this with facts and logic, and you get shouted down if not punished for daring to question the “scientific” consensus. This is rotten. I should know.