The Genesis Chronicles: A Proposed History Of The Morning Of The World
Chapter 5: THE TRUTH ABOUT CAVE MEN
This chapter covers the following topics:
With mammals we have the same problem that we have shown with other animals; no credible transitional life forms. There are eighteen different orders of mammals, from rodents and carnivores to whales and primates, but not one fossil has been found to show us how one group evolved into another. Rodents are the most common mammals today, so why are there so few specimens of them in the fossil record? Paleontologists have dated the oldest known bat fossil at 50 million years, but it looks so much like a modern bat that nobody will call it anything but 100% bat.
Most anthropology books will explain human evolution by showing a progression of apes, ape-men ("hominids"), and true men, like this:
Is the fossil record really so clear for humans? Not at all. The rarest fossils are human ones; what is proudly claimed as evidence for our antiquity is a fragmentary collection, mostly teeth and jawbones (the hardest bones). In 1982 Dr. Lyall Watson stated: "The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!"(1) Likewise, a 1994 article in Time Magazine admitted that: "Yet despite more than a century of digging, the fossil record remains maddeningly sparse. With so few clues, even a single bone that doesn't fit into the picture can upset everything. Virtually every major discovery has put deep cracks in the conventional wisdom and forced scientists to concoct new theories, amid furious debate."
Anthropologists have to make assumptions to answer the questions the bone fragments cannot explain, and since many of these have proven faulty in the past, who can be certain the same won't happen to the theories evolutionists follow today? Let us look at the true story behind each of the "cave men" discovered so far.
Only ten years after that, a new discovery took Ramapithecus out of our family tree. In 1973 a complete upper jaw of Ramapithecus was found with some facial bones attached. It turned out that previous reconstructions had been incorrect--the mouth of Ramapithecus was not manlike at all, but identical to that of the modern orangutan. The supposed missing link turned out to be nothing more than an ordinary ape!
Since then it has been suggested that the Australopithecines are not really separate species, but male and female examples of the same ape. More serious is the discovery in the mid-1970s that the more manlike Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus lived in East Africa around the same time. Since the others are considered direct ancestors of modern man, their presence in the same neighborhood eliminates Australopithecus as a contender for a place in our lineage. When this was pointed out, scientists tried to laugh it off with their own attempt at ethnic humor. (What did one Homo Erectus say to another Homo Erectus? "Hey, have you heard the latest Australopithecus joke?")
Another problem was pointed out by Donald Johanson. He has stated that wherever he dug he found the bones of rhinos, boas, hippos, monkeys, and other typically African animals, but he has never found the bones of modern apes like chimpanzees. Could it be that Australopithecus and Homo Habilis are the chimps he can't find, because they are right under his nose?(2) And in the April 1979 issue of National Geographic, Dr. Mary Leakey (Louis Leakey's wife) reported the discovery of some footprints in a volcanic ash formation that are older than any hominids found so far, but are undeniably human (ape feet have a thumb where we have a big toe). Will the real missing link please stand up!(3)
This is a good place to mention that anthropologists often go overboard in identifying their discoveries. In the nineteenth century every skeleton found was minutely described as a new race. Thus identical skulls found in different places became known by such names as "Peking Man," "Java Man," etc. When the number of discoveries reached double-digit figures, the classification broke down under its own weight; since the 1960s Peking Man and Java Man have been known simply as Homo Erectus.
Nowadays it appears that another mania for new hominids has begun. Every new discovery becomes the archetypal example of a new species, and sometimes even a new genus. Thus the newest finds are tagged with a bewildering variety of names, like Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy), Australopithecus Anamensis, Ardipithecus Ramidus, and Morotipithecus. Two of the most recent finds, Homo Antecessor (Spain, 1997) and Homo Ergaster (Republic of Georgia, 2002), threaten to bump Homo Erectus from its favored position as the direct ancestor of modern man. In a 1995 biology textbook published by Prentice-Hall, the two authors of it declared that: "At the present time, scientists cannot agree on how many species of Australopithecus there were or whether or not they were the ancestors of human beings."
We now realize that the range of individual variation in any population can render such exact descriptions pointless, the more so because the genetic variation in early man was probably wider than in his descendants today. The isolation of people into family-sized groups favors the exaggeration of certain characteristics by inbreeding, the results of which we'll discuss when we get to Neanderthal Man.(4)
So who was the actual tool-user? One fact rarely reported is that seven skeletons of modern men were found at the same site; they were dismissed as belonging to visitors who moved into the neighborhood hundreds of thousands of years later. The skeletons were identified as Mongolian, European, Melanesian, and Eskimo types, a perplexing ethnic mixture that no anthropologist can explain. The most plausible answer is that "Peking Man" was just another ape like "Java Man," and was killed and eaten by modern men who viewed monkey brains as a delicacy.
The most serious problem is that the bones are no longer available for study. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, the American-Chinese team of scientists found themselves behind enemy lines. They tried to get the bones shipped out of China, but the bones disappeared somewhere in transit; presumably Japanese soldiers intercepted them. All we have now are photos and plaster casts of the original bones, with no guarantee that they are accurate.
Here even the evolutionists admit that they have too few remains to make any claims about them, and none will seriously suggest that we have a direct ancestor here. That is why these prehistoric giants almost never turn up in textbooks, and why you may not have heard of them; even the scientists seem to have forgotten them. Some have suggested that the big teeth come from that elusive wild ape, the Yeti (Abominable Snowman) of the Himalayas, or its American relative, Bigfoot. If that is the case, they definitely do not come from a missing link, since the Yeti, if it exists, is still active in the modern world.
In 1911 an amateur paleontologist named Charles Dawson brought to the British Museum some bone fragments and tools that he claimed he dug from a gravel pit, near an English field named Piltdown Common. The bones were immediately accepted as the real thing, and named Eoanthropus Dawsoni, "Dawson's dawn man." At the time it seemed to be just the missing link people were looking for; the skull looked very modern, except for an apelike jaw. He was judged to be 500,000 years old. One of the tools, made from an elephant's leg bone, was described as a "cricket bat," so the owner was definitely British! Some skeptics (mostly non-English scientists) questioned the discovery, until the finding of part of a second Piltdown skull was announced later at a separate location; objects found at one site could be faked or misinterpreted, but not those found at two sites.
Or could they? Problems began to crop up when undeniably authentic hominids, like Australopithecus and Peking Man, were found elsewhere. Previously it was believed that man's large brain evolved before he walked on two legs; Piltdown Man seemed to prove this. Instead, the skulls of these creatures were more apelike, and the jaws more manlike, so where did Piltdown Man fit into the evolutionary picture? A controversy more furious than that over Java Man's leg broke out concerning Piltdown Man's jaw. It degenerated to outright name-calling; one paleontologist suggested that someone measure the size of his rival's cranium, because it was probably smaller than that of Pithecanthropus! As time went on, most paleontologists decided that Piltdown Man was not the true ancestor of modern man:
"I remember writing a paper on human evolution in 1944, and I simply left Piltdown out. You could make sense of human evolution if you didn't try to put Piltdown into it."(6)
Still another paleontologist asserted that the skull belonged to modern man, and that the jaw could not belong to it under any circumstances, without realizing how close he was to the truth.
The techniques for chemical and radioactive dating became available in 1950, and Piltdown Man was put to the test. The skull turned out to be approximately 620 years old; the jaw came from a modern ape, but the teeth had been filed down to disguise their identity, so it wasn't identified as an orangutan's jaw until 1982. Both skull and jaw were stained dark brown to mimic great age. The tools were also fakes, having been shaped by a steel knife, and the animal fossils Dawson brought in with the bones were authentic, but had come from three locations, none of them in England. The conclusion: someone had gone to great lengths to make an elaborate and very clever fraud, one that had all the scientists fooled for nearly forty years. Presumably it was Dawson, but he had died in 1916, so he could not explain his part in the hoax.(7) The whole story shows us that scientists, just like anybody, are likely to find evidence to confirm what they believe, whether it is true or not.
You would think that today's scientists would be wiser, after a mistake like this. But no!--since the evidence for human evolution is so hard to come by, some still make dumb mistakes, claiming they have specimens which turn out to be something else later. In 1983 Tim White, quoting from articles by I. Anderson and Allan Walker, reported that a dolphin rib, a horse's toe, and an alligator femur were all identified as human collarbone fragments.(8) His conclusion: "The problem with a lot of anthropologists is that they want so much to find a hominoid [hominid], that any scrap of bone becomes a hominoid bone."
Perhaps the worst case of misidentification occurred in Spain, when part of a skull was promoted as the oldest example of man outside of Africa. A three-day scientific symposium was scheduled to examine and discuss the find, which they named Orce Man, after the Spanish town near where it was found. However, some French scientists spoiled the party when they proved that Orce Man was really a four-month-old donkey, and the embarrased Spanish government sent out 500 letters canceling the symposium. The Daily Telegraph, an Australian newspaper, reported the story on May 14, 1984, with a headline that said it all: "ASS TAKEN FOR MAN."
Rhodesian Man got his name because his first skull, found in 1921, came from the Broken Hill quarry in Northern Rhodesia (modern Zambia). As with Neanderthal Man (see below), for a while Rhodesian Man was considered too brutish and too apelike to be a proper ancestor. But again scientists were letting prejudice fill gaps where they had no facts. Nowadays Rhodesian Man is seen as an African version of Heidelberg Man, the part of the human race that stayed home when other primitive men moved out of Africa.
One detail dangerous enough to wreck all our ideas on the stone age was pointed out by a few authors in the 1970s--the Broken Hill skull has a bullet hole in it! The skull has a small round hole in the left temple, with none of the radial cracks around it that an arrowhead or a spear would have produced. The right side of the skull is shattered, having been blown apart from the inside. A German forensics expert in Berlin has testified that only a high-speed projectile, like a rifle shot, could have done this kind of damage. What conclusion can we draw from this? One is that Rhodesian Man is not very old after all; he might have been shot by a European in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. The other is that somebody back in prehistoric times had guns, and this seems to be more likely, since the skull was found 60 feet underground. Either way, it poses one of those problems which evolutionists prefer to sweep under the rug and forget.
That changed in the 1950s and 60s, when skulls were found in Israel and Iraq that were old enough to be Neanderthals, but more modern in appearance, with scarcely an eyebrow ridge. In 1958 the Old Man of La Chapelle was given a second look, and it turned out that he walked poorly because he was crippled by arthritis. Other discoveries showed that Neanderthal Man had more intelligence than he had first been given credit for: his brain was a bit larger than ours, he could hunt and bring down the largest ice age beasts, wore clothes, had stone tools that required considerable planning to make, took care of relatives who could not take care of themselves, and buried the dead with flowers. In 2008 it was discovered that Neanderthals made necklaces out of shell beads, and used lumps of pigment as crayons, to apply makeup. Now we believe that if you gave a Neanderthal a shave and a decent outfit to wear, he could stand on a street corner and pass himself off as one of us. The term Neanderthal is better applied to a culture than a human race. Thus, scientists no longer classify Neanderthal Man as a separate species--Homo Neanderthalensis--but as a race within the human species (Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis).
One reason for the above change is because when anthropologists try to reconstruct what cavemen looked like, they don't have much to go on; for example, they can't tell us the color of Neanderthal man's hair. Instead, they have artists portray what they think they looked like, the result being that two completely different faces might come from the same skull. Boyce Rensberger, writing in Science Digest in 1981, explains it this way:
"Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist's conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there . . . Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it . . . Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture. The guesswork approach often leads to errors."
Since Neanderthal Man's rehabilitation, some have suggested that his brutish looks came from the harsh environment of ice age Europe: poor diet, rickets caused by insufficient sunlight, etc. Doctors have also pointed out that a problem with an overactive pituitary gland, called acromegaly, can make ordinary people with no apelike genes look like Neanderthals. This rare hereditary disease, which now afflicts less than one person in ten thousand, can spread through a community which practices inbreeding; that may have happened with the small Neanderthal family groups. Acromegaly causes the bones to start growing again about ten to twenty years after adulthood, when they stopped growing originally. At that stage the bones cannot grow any longer because their ends are fused, so they grow thicker instead. The result? Evolution in reverse:
"As in many endocrine types, there is considerable resemblance among all acromegalics. The large extremities, awkward movements, thickened features, and drooping shoulders with hands falling near the knees in advanced cases, give the picture of Simian (apelike) man, and where gigantism has preceded the acromegalic changes, of a primitive ape-like giant. Great strength, however, may give place to exhaustion and weakness in the later stages . . ."(11)
"In recent years a wrestler by the name of Maurice Tillet, known professionally as 'the Angel,' achieved considerable notoriety. Not only did he win a number of bouts and gain recognition in that way, but his physical appearance attracted considerable attention. Apparently he suffered from acromegaly, an endocrine disorder. As a result his head and his face became very large, his hands and his feet thickened, and his torso, too became broadened. Certainly if his bones were fossilized, it is not hard to believe that they might be regarded as those of a pre-human form. And yet M. Tillet was a 20th century human being, and a cultured, well-educated member of our society at that."(12)
Update: In 2014 it was announced that a 3,800-year-old skeleton of a man from a California cemetery is the oldest specimen showing clear signs of acromegaly. Obviously the anthropologists who examined the bones--and the author of the article--are not considering that Neanderthal Man could have had the same disease, and because of the age of the bones, they see the owner as a Paleo-Indian, not as a cave man.
Nobody is suggesting that Homo Floresiensis is any sort of missing link; attempts to date the tools and bones produced an age range from 95,000 to 13,000 years old, too late for evolutionists.(13) The current theory is that an Australopithecus or Homo Erectus tribe came to Flores, survived there longer than they did elsewhere, and evolved a bit before they finally disappeared. However, most of the unique features of these little people can be explained through the form of natural selection caused by isolation on a small island. They could just as easily have been descended from the Negritos, the first ethnic group to live in Indonesia within historical times (see Chapter 1 of my Southeast Asian history). Once they arrived, Homo Floresiensis would have had no competition from other humans. On an island where food is in short supply, and no natural enemies exist, it isn't worth it to be big. That also explains why the island had stegodons, instead of regular-sized elephants. Consequently, over the generations Homo Floresiensis could have shrunken to a more economical size; call them Oriental Pygmies if you wish. Occasionally a very large creature, like the Galapagos tortoise, is found in an island environment, and these can be explained by those situations where being big enough to hold a territory is required to get food. One such animal may have given the little people their main challenge; Flores is one of the four islands that is home to the Komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard.
Hmmm, real-life hobbits and dragons? Sometimes truth is stranger than fantasy!
There are 16,500 nucleotides in human mtDNA, and whereas 202 of those nucleotides are likely to be different between Neanderthals and us, the sample derived from the fingerbone showed 385 discrepancies with modern mtDNA. The conclusion of the scientists was that the Denisovan is a new species of hominid, coming from an evolutionary line that diverged from homo sapiens about one million years ago. This throws a wrench in the "Out of Africa" theory, which has humanity spreading beyond Africa at a much later date. Others have suggested that "Denisova Man" was simply a hybrid, the result of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons interbreeding.(14)
Equally curious are the results from comparing the Denisova genome with that from six modern humans: a South African Bushman, a Nigerian, a Frenchman, a Papua New Guinean, a Bougainville Islander and a Chinese person. Among those individuals, 4 to 6 percent of the Papuan and the Bouganville Islander's genome matched the Denisovan one, meaning that Melanesians are the closest living relatives of the Denisovans. If you are wondering how the ancestors of the Melanesians got from Siberia to the South Pacific, well, your guess is as good as mine.
More recently (2012) news has come forth about some surprising skulls found in China's Yunnan province. Tentatively called Red Deer Cave Man, they show a mixture of primtive and modern features that have not been seen anywhere else. Scientists have not yet decided where to place them on the human family tree.
In 2013 scientists got an mtDNA sample from a human thighbone found in a Spanish cave. The age of the bones in the cave was estimated at 400,000 years, so according to the evolutionary model, the owner of the bones belongs in the Heidelberg Man category (see above), and this is the oldest human DNA found so far. They expected the DNA to resemble DNA samples taken from the bones of European Neanderthals, but instead the genome sequence was closest to the Denisovan sample, meaning that we have a relative of Denisova Man, in the wrong time and place.
I have already showed how those who believe in evolution will make a big deal out of a few bone fragments, like the tooth that became Nebraska Man. So far it is too early to tell if they have done it again with these remains. Still, whether you believe in creation or evolution, you have to admit that the above discoveries show how little we really know about the origins of man.
Rough estimates of the cranial capacity (the skull was incomplete, after all) produced a result of 1,750 cubic centimeters, compared with 1,350 for a normal cranium. What's more, much of the extra brain was in the front, where we do most of our advanced thinking, so he could have smarter than us, too. The skull's age was estimated at 10,000 years, making the owner contemporary with Cro-Magnon Man (see below). This presented evolutionists with the same sort of problem as Piltdown Man did; primitive men were NOT supposed to have big brains! Fortunately for the evolutionists, there was only one specimen, and it was found without accompanying tools or animal fossils, so it was easy to ignore Boskop Man, and the world forgot about him.
Years later, Frederick FitzSimons found the graves of a few more big-headed folks, a hundred miles from the original site. Then in 2008, neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger published a book entitled Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence. They proposed that Boskop Man had an average IQ of 150, meaning that more than half of them would have been smart enough to get into Mensa. What was that superior brain power good for? Lynch and Granger felt it was used for total sensory processing of the owner's surroundings; Boskop Man would have had a perfect photographic memory. Or perhaps it caused him to act like a philosopher, spending much of his free time discussing elaborate ideas with anyone who cared to listen. In other words, Boskops were super nerds. To them we would have looked as primitive and brutish as Neanderthals look to us.
So if these guys were so brilliant, why didn't they exterminate or enslave us? Lynch and Granger suggested that they simply may not have wanted to. What's more, big brains can be a liability as well as an asset. Childbirth is difficult for modern women because of the large size of the baby's head; imagine how tough it must have been for a Boskop woman to deliver! The danger of carrying such a baby to term could have been a strong incentive to avoid having kids (I told you they were nerds). Or they could have interbred with normal humans to avoid the problem; if they did that, they would have been absorbed into our ancestors, and some of us may carry Boskop genes today. Finally, the skills that come from a superior intellect aren't very useful without a civilization to practice them in; if you're living in the stone age, how would you balance a checkbook, compose a symphony, or write the next great software? Supposedly the Boskops realized that those who lived by brute force had an advantage over them, and accepted their fate--if they weren't wiped out by our ancestors.
Classic evolutionary theory has the human brain growing larger, and mankind getting smarter, as time goes by. Scientists and science fiction writers have tried to extrapolate from that what our descendants will look like, and they predict future man will have less hair, smaller faces, and bigger heads (The example in the picture below is from the classic TV series "The Outer Limits."). Instead, Boskop Man appears to have resembled that already; was the "man from tomorrow" here yesterday? Occasionally we hear about somebody living in the wrong time, like Charles Babbage, who invented the computer 120 years before the world was ready for it; we could have a case of that here!
Of course many scientists refuse to consider such a controversial idea. Some, like John Hawks, insist that the above speculation about the Boskop skulls is nothing but fantasy, and that the skulls do not represent an otherwise unknown race; more likely they represent a birth defect like hydrocephalus. Do we have another case of a disease masquerading as evolution, like when acromegaly makes modern men look like Neanderthals? It looks like we'll have to treat Boskop Man like Denisova Man, and wait for more evidence before drawing any conclusions.
So now you know the full story on the missing links. The scorecard reads as follows:
Thus, I wouldn't be surprised if the hominids that are still in the running, like Homo Antecessor and Homo Ergaster, are disqualified by tomorrow's discovery!
Finally, let us consider what population growth can do. At the beginning of this chapter I declared that human fossils are the rarest of all. Well, according to our census figures the population of the human race is increasing at an average annual rate of 2% (3% in Moslem countries, 1% or less in the most advanced countries). And we can have more babies than that if we choose to do so. In fact, if our numbers hadn't been set back by calamities like wars and epidemics, it would only take us 4,000 years to go from a single couple to the six billion people that walk the earth today. If mankind is really 4 million years old, then about 150,000 generations have come and gone, and hundreds of billions of our ancestors have lived and died already. If the world has really seen that many humans, where are their bones? We ought to be treading on graveyards everywhere we go!(16)
Late in the twentieth century, the study of genetics was applied to human fossils, now that we knew how DNA works. First the DNA of mitochondria from several individuals was compared, and attempts were made to extrapolate how many generations would be required to find a common ancestor to all of those people. Mitochondrial DNA is different from the more familiar DNA in a cell's nucleus, being passed down to a child only from the mother, so all mitochondrial DNA supposedly comes from the mother of the human race, appropriately nicknamed "Eve." The result they came up with was that "Eve" could have lived as recently as 90,000 years ago, and still be ancestor to everyone alive today. This was startling enough, but when enough of the human genome was mapped to make comparing the DNA from chromosomes feasible, an even more recent ancestor was revealed:
"The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for a randomly mating population would have lived in the very recent past. . . . In particular, the MRCA of all present-day humans lived just a few thousand years ago in these models. . . . And a few thousand years before that, . . . the ancestors of everyone on the earth today were exactly the same."(17)
Of course evolutionists don't want to think that we've found the genomes of Adam and Eve. To explain this oddity, they backtrack from the usual uniformitarian thinking and propose a catastophist answer: the human race evolved and increased its numbers nicely over a period of millions of years, until a worldwide disaster, like a sudden climate change, killed off most of the humans and prehumans. The latest variant of this theory has a supervolcano, like Mt. Toba in Indonesia, explode 70,000 years ago, and the resulting ash from the eruption fills the atmosphere, causing a sudden cooling of the earth and beginning the most recent ice age. The only hominids that survived this "nuclear winter" were a community of about two thousand individuals in Africa, and when the world warmed up again, they went forth and repopulated it. I don't know about you, but to me that sounds a lot like what happened to the human race during and immediately after Noah's Flood (see Chapter 10).
The assumptions required to believe in human evolution gave even Mr. Darwin some sleepless nights. Late in his career he wrote:
"The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" (Life and Letters, pg. 285)
Darwin hit the nail right on the head when he named his book on human evolution The Descent of Man. But it is not the kind of descent he had in mind. We started with Adam, who was created in God's image. People did not start looking and acting like monkeys until after Adam ate the forbidden fruit, and though he took a deadly poison he was so vigorous that it didn't kill him for 930 years. Today we have degenerated to the point that we live off vitamin pills, often wear glasses, and consider ourselves lucky if we live longer than the proverbial "threescore and ten" years. We have energy drinks to get us going when coffee is not enough, and anti-energy drinks to turn off the effect of the energy drinks. We have more in common with the sniveling losers of today's comic strips and TV shows than we do with the patriarchs and heroes of the past (see also footnote #10). We are proud of the technology that has made our lives easier, but it has also given us obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and infertility; most of our pre-industrial ancestors never got those diseases. When Darwin said "descent" he meant "going up" (it's a good thing he was never an elevator operator!). The truth of the matter is that nature has not made man from a monkey, but that the devil has made a monkey out of man!
"We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origin. At last we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! It is our own." -- Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington
This is the End of Chapter 5.
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