Friday, December 18, 2015

They Would Be Gods - 26 - The Evolution of Early Man



by Anthony Forwood (2011) 

26: The Evolution of Early Man

Our conception of the physical evolution of the human species is based primarily on the evidence of fossilized bones. Through similarities and differences in morphology, and by estimating their ages through various scientific dating methods based on the geological evidence surrounding the finds, scientists have been able to construct a picture of the evolutionary development from ape to man that fits the Darwinian principles of evolution.

Darwin wasn’t thinking about humans when he wrote Origin of Species, living in a time when the beliefs of the Church still had a large influence on how people saw the human species in relation to the physical world. It was still believed that a purely divine force created humans in an already fully evolved state and not so far in the past, and so Darwin was only thinking about the other lesser species of our planet. It was only after his book was published that others of a more scientific mind began to apply his theory to the human species as well. This is when the sciences of archeology and geology were just beginning to develop, and a new scientifically objective outlook on the world was awakening intelligent minds to a new perception of reality to replace the stale and patchwork understanding that was being promoted through the beliefs of the Church. The many odd finds of fossilized bones and other artifacts that had been made over the years and which were sought out and collected by wealthy antiquarians for their own interest and amusement were suddenly being reconsidered in light of Darwin’s theory. Through these treasures and the many others that have been found since, a story of the evolutionary and cultural development of the human species has been pieced together, using Darwin’s theory of evolution as a blueprint.

Apart from the bones and fossils that have been found and are used as the primary physical evidence of our human evolution, there are also the artifacts – man-made objects – that are used to reflect the level of our intelligence and cultural development. It has been commonly assumed that because these bones and artifacts can be shown to generally follow a chain of development that reflects the intellectual and cultural primitiveness of early man slowly progressing into the complex society we’re familiar with today, that this must be an accurate reflection of the development of our human form and intellect as a species. In some ways it might be, but this doesn’t mean that we were really as primitive as we currently think, and that we’ve only recently been able rise up above a primitive animalistic nature to use our minds so much more productively than just for our daily survival. The publication of Origin of Species was an immediate sensation and had a heavy influence on the thinking of scientists who sought to find an explanation of our origins that made sense in context with the various fields of science that were developing. Other possible theories have been completely ignored or unfairly disregarded, and any physical evidence that suggests anything different than the established theory has been suppressed or misidentified.

It may even be that at certain points in our past there were influences from outside sources that both guided and limited our beliefs in this area.

Let’s take a look at the evolutionary development of the human species as defined by the scientific establishment, to see the chain of anatomical evolution as it’s currently understood by the scientific establishment.

Homo Afarensis

Our earliest known hominid ancestor was Australopithecus Afarensis, the first hominid to walk upright. This species arrived in Africa at about 4,000,000 BC. His brain was no larger than that of a chimpanzee (300 to 600 cc), and he had the distinct ape-like arms and legs that characterize the great apes of today. He was incapable of speech and could only have used gestures and calls to communicate. This early hominid only stood three to four feet tall when fully erect. He subsisted mostly on nuts and fruit, but occasionally ate meat. This species had a life span of about fifty years.

Homo Habilis

A number of hominid species evolved from Homo Afarensis and co-existed together on the African continent for a time. Of these, Homo Habilis, who stood about four feet tall, arrived at about 2,000,000 BC. He is believed to be our direct ancestor because he had the unique hand dexterity that we humans also possess. He also had larger frontal lobes than previous hominids, which gave him the ability to plan and to solve problems. However, it appears from studying the fossilized brains of these creatures that Habilis gained his greater brain-power because of a change in the brain’s structure, and not just because of its increased size (600 to 750 cc). Homo Habilis was a meat eater, although he only ever scavenged it, rather than hunting and killing it himself. He was also the first hominid to use the simplest stone tools, thus showing the first signs of conscious thought.

Homo Ergaster and Homo Erectus

After Homo Habilis had been around for a few hundred thousand years, Homo Ergaster and his immediate descendent Homo Erectus arrived, no later than about 1,500,000 BC. Ergaster stood over six feet tall, and appeared very much like modern humans in his anatomy and posture, although he had a heavy jaw, flattened nose, and thick brow-ridge. Ergaster had much less body hair than his ancestors, and had developed sweat glands to further reduce his body heat in the increasing dryness of the African savannah. He was the first hominid to develop a protruding nose, whereas all previous ancestors had nostrils that were flat with the surface of the face. His brain was almost as big as that of a modern human, at almost 1000 cc, but it still took him half a million years before he learned to make and use a hand-axe.

Ergaster was no great hunter, and although he might eat almost anything that was edible if he was hungry enough, he regularly scavenged meat for his diet, usually only ever attempting to take down an animal himself if it was old or incapable of putting up much of a struggle. Ergaster had the ability to make simple deductions about his world, giving him greater adaptability than his ancestors. Although Ergaster only had a very rudimentary form of speech that limited his thinking and ability to communicate, he appears to have maintained complex social relationships and lived in close, trusting families and small communities that in certain seasons might have consisted of up to perhaps a hundred or so people. Ergaster began to migrate out of Africa and into Europe about a million years ago.

Late Ergaster, also known as Homo Erectus, began to appear in the Middle East and on the edges of Europe and Asia no earlier than 1,800,000 BC, after having spent about 200,000 years in Africa.[1] Erectus was almost identical to Ergaster but had a thicker skull and more prominent brow-ridge. He had a cranial capacity of between 700 and 1300 cc. He spread as far north as the Black Sea, and eastward past the Red Sea, along the Iranian coast, across India, through the Himalayan foothills, into South-East Asia, until finally reaching China. For some strange reason, Erectus doesn’t seem to have ever developed the refined stone tools that his most recent ancestors from Africa had developed and used, and instead continued to use primitive tools, never developing anything better. In spite of this, Erectus outlived Ergaster and thrived for almost one and a half million years with little evidence of further development until he died out less than fifty thousand years ago.

At some point in the evolution of these two races of the human species, between about 1,400,000 BC and 500,000 BC, fire began to be harnessed and controlled. Early man used it for warmth and protection from animals, and eventually came to use it for cooking food as well.

Homo Heidelbergensis

At about 800,000 BC, Homo Heidelbergensis arrived in Western Europe, the descendent of Homo Ergaster. Standing almost six feet tall, he was stronger, hardier, and smarter than his ancestor. Although he still had the sloping forehead and heavy brow, his cranium was larger, with a brain-size of about 1250 cc, but he lacked a well-developed neocortex, which is necessary for higher brain functioning. He used stone tools and wooden spears, and was a superb hunter of larger animals and knew how to plan his kills and use strategy. At this point in time, the variety of large animals living in this northern part of the globe included the horse, giant deer, wolf, various big cats, the elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, so he had plenty of game for his diet, but also had to work hard to get it.

Heidelbergensis was very adaptable, able to deal with the changing weather patterns of the ice age period, and it appears that he was the first hominid to build crude shelters. He arrived as far north as England by 400,000 BC during one of the warmer interglacial periods.

Heidelbergensis is believed to have used a rudimentary language, with simple nouns and verbs to symbolize the most common things in everyday life. Although his thoughts were still firmly rooted in the present, and he had yet to develop a conception of longer-term events, he nevertheless applied his mind well to short-term daily tasks.

Heidelbergensis didn’t bury his dead as later species would come to do, but would apparently just leave them for predators or the elements, and this indicates that he had no spiritual understandings regarding life and death, although he would probably have grieved for the loss when a loved one died, having the emotional characteristics that distinguish all mammalian species.

Heidelbergensis eventually spread wide across the northern lands and to every continent except the Americas and Australia. Within 150,000 years, he began to evolve into two distinctly separate races, Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo Sapiens.

Homo Neanderthalensis

Neanderthal man arrived in Europe about 200,000 years after Homo Heidelbergensis, or about 400,000 BC, and lived there for at least 300,000 years, leaving us no signs that he did any sort of trading or traveling. In spite of this, his remains have been found all across Eurasia, but not in Africa or the Far East. Although shorter and stockier than Heidelbergensis, he was well suited for the extreme weather conditions and harsh living conditions of the time. He had a brain that was larger than our own, although his prefrontal lobes were smaller so he wasn’t as efficient at reasoning as we are. He was an expert hunter, as well as skilled in making stone tools, apparently being the first hominid to tip his spear with a stone blade. He cooked his food and wore clothes. He had the capability of speech, and was emotional like us. His language had developed from that of Heidelbergensis into one with greater flexibility and more complex sentence structure. Thoughts and questions about the future and the consequences of his actions would have been contemplated and discussed with others of his kind. He lived in small groups where the bonding was very strong and each depended on the others for survival, so disputes between them would have been few. He had an awareness of himself as a living being, and conceived for himself his place in the world. He understood what was normal and what was unusual to his environment. In spite of this mental capacity, however, Neanderthalensis didn’t develop an intellectual mind for the thousands of generations that he existed. He had a normal life span of about thirty to forty years. Although there are a few signs that he sometimes buried his dead, there seems to be no ritual surrounding these acts, suggesting that it was merely a means of disposal and not due to any sort of spiritual beliefs. He left few if any traces of any art or other signs of having a creative imagination until after Homo Sapiens also arrived in the area, and this suggests that the latter race were influential in this respect. The two races lived together in Europe for at least ten thousand years before Neanderthal man died out at around 25,000 BC. The reason for his extinction is not certain.

Homo Sapien

At least as early as 150,000 years ago, while Neanderthal man was arising in other colder parts of the world, the ice-free parts of the African continent were seeing the appearance of his close cousin, Homo Sapien. Life was completely different for this species than it was for its northern cousin the Neanderthal. The environment was harsh in the opposite extreme for the Sapien species, being arid, rainless desert where for the Neanderthal it was cold and damp in the northern glacial landscape.

Homo Sapien was almost identical to modern humans (Homo Sapien Sapien) in physical form, without the heavy brow and sloping forehead of his Neanderthal cousin, and instead having the prominent forehead that we see in our species today.

Like his cousin, but for different reasons, Sapien had to live by his wits. Survival was just as hard as in the north, and the possibility of extinction was an equal threat. It’s believed that he had to be able to reason and to plan ahead and to use his imagination out of necessity, which forced his rapid mental development. By about 100,000 BC, he was beginning to master the art of language, even beyond the linguistic development that Neanderthal man had reached. His imaginative powers would have allowed him to think in metaphors and to create analogies, which was an increased advantage in his mental development. He knew the benefit of having allies, of adapting and of recognizing and taking advantage of situations to manipulate them into his favor.

At about 100,000 BC, Sapien began to migrate out of Africa and populate the rest of the globe, reaching almost every continent. In Europe, he did exceptionally well, but at a cost to his cousin the Neanderthal. By 30,000 BC, Sapien was showing signs of his increasing cultural development, leaving his mark in the form of cave paintings for later generations to reflect on and admire, as well as clay figurines and intricate carvings made out of rock and bone. With these artistic creations, he left a vague history of his people’s life in the symbolic representations that revealed both his intelligence and his imagination. What he believed about the nature of reality back then is uncertain, but it’s obvious that he had already begun to develop an understanding of his existence that had spiritual elements to it.

Homo Sapien Sapien

Homo Sapien Sapien, also known as Cro-Magnon man, was physically indistinguishable from modern humans. He was tall, long-legged, and muscular. He had a high forehead, prominent chin, an aquiline nose, and small, even teeth. It’s believed by mainstream scientists that Cro-Magnon man emerged out of Africa at about 100,000 BC and journeyed through the Middle East to finally arrive in Europe while it was still in the grips of the last ice age, at about 30,000 BC. Europe had up until then been inhabited by another species of human – Neanderthal – who had lived there since 200,000 BC. Scientists now admit that Neanderthal man was an entirely different species than Cro-Magnon man. These two species lived side by side for at least 10,000 years before Neanderthal man finally died out, or was perhaps exterminated, leaving Cro-Magnon the only living human species on Earth. Cro-Magnon lived in settlements that were larger than those of Neanderthal. He was a trader and traveled long distances, eventually spreading to every habitable region of the planet. He was the first hominid to make and use baked pottery, and to weave baskets.

One of the most startling things about Cro-Magnon man was that he was such a significantly skilled artist, having created sophisticated cave paintings and carvings as early as 30,000 BC. This artistic sophistication arose suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere in an already advanced stage of development. Among his cave paintings are also more symbolic forms, such as dots, grid patterns, and squares. These were representations of abstract ideas and were probably commonly recognized among his kind. Caves appear to have been used by Cro-Magnon for social gatherings, and therefore would have been the likeliest place for spiritual activities to take place. His early art forms – the carvings and paintings – appear to be the artifacts of an early spiritual tradition.

By 10,000 BC, Cro-Magnon man had learned the skills of agriculture, animal domestication, metalworking, writing, religion, politics, and so much more.

This is the evolutionary development of our ancestral lineage, according to mainstream science.

The Missing Link and Other Inconsistencies in Our Evolution

Going back to about 7,000,000 BC, an ancestral hominid species is supposed to have existed that links the human species to the chimpanzees. This would be the ‘missing link’, the species that was our common ancestor, but for which there’s not a scratch of physical evidence to show that it ever actually existed. However, genetic evidence apparently shows that chimpanzees branched off from the hominid line at about this point in time, thus linking us to them.

However, a slight problem has recently arisen with the discovery of Australopithecus Anamensis, a hominid that existed at about 4,000,000 BC. This species was very similar to Afarensis in many ways, but other aspects seem to be more human-like than in the later hominid species. This has created some uncertainty as to the variety of branching that has actually occurred in the hominid line, and it even suggests that perhaps evolution doesn’t progress in the perfectly linear fashion that Darwinism dictates, although few scientists today will even consider such an idea.

The increased brain size and the change in that organ’s structure that arose with Homo Habilis leads to the question of how this change came about. According to the laws of Darwinian evolution, such changes could only be due to random mutation, which means that the first Habilis must have been a creature who was mutated in such a way that the ordinarily incredibly intricate neural structure and workings of his brain just happened to mutate so as to connect and operate in a manner that was even more complex than before, and worked more efficiently. It’s extremely unlikely that the changes that took place in the brain could have been small and incremental ones over many generations, leading to a final new structural and operational design, but instead must have been a single sudden change in its complete form within a single generation. This is because the brain’s extremely intricate complexity renders significant changes in its design extremely unlikely to randomly mutate in such a way that it would operate significantly better without some sort of major loss to its previous operation.

The question has often arisen in the past as to whether Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo Sapiens may have attempted to interbreed at some point, considering the fact that they lived so closely together for so long. First in 1997, and then again more recently, scientists were able to successfully extract and examine the DNA from the fossil of a Neanderthal, and have revealed that there appears to be no direct ancestral links between Neanderthals and modern humans. However, the skeleton of a young Neanderthal child that lived around 25,000 BC was found on the most westerly tip of the European continent – the last place that Homo Sapiens would have reached as they ventured across the land from Africa. The skeleton was partially painted in red ochre, and a shell bead was found nearby, signifying some sort of ritualistic activity had taken place. But who performed the ritual, and for what reason? A strange fact about this skeleton is that it had physical characteristics of both Neanderthalensis and Homo Sapiens. It was a hybrid cross. A sapien human had apparently mated with a Neanderthal, and although the interbreeding was successful, the child died early in life, for whatever reason. Only DNA tests on the remains of this child will ever provide a definitive answer as to whether it was an actual crossbreed, but no such tests are ever likely to be made.

The fact that this Neanderthal child was one of the very last of its dying race leads one to believe that this may have been regarded as a special child, perhaps the last real hope of survival for a small, near-extinct group of Neanderthals who knew that they were doomed if they didn’t acquire the genetic advantages of their racial cousins in order that they could keep up. There’s almost no other evidence to show that Neanderthal man had any sort of spiritual beliefs, so it seems strange that they would be involved in what appears to be a ritual over this dead child, even if the child had been of special interest to them. Perhaps they were attempting to copy what they had observed the sapien race doing, not fully understanding their ways but hoping desperately to learn in order to survive.

Cro-Magnon man seems to have arisen quite suddenly and with an unparalleled burst of evolutionary development beyond his predecessor, Homo Heidelbergensis, who had existed for almost 800,000 years before evolving into Homo Sapien, who in the span of only 100,000 years or so had evolved further into Homo Sapien Sapien. The end of the ice age may have been one factor for this sudden evolutionary change, but this doesn’t explain the advanced artistic ability that Cro-Magnon seemed to have attained so suddenly. That he painted such magnificent and realistic artwork on cave walls in France and Spain, but left no works there or anywhere else that would show the expected progressive development in skill, poses a problem with our current understandings concerning the origins of Cro-Magnon, and therefore of our own origins as well. In looking at the skill of artistry in many of the cave paintings that have been discovered over the years, it becomes difficult to imagine that humans were still barely intelligent 25,000 years ago.

It has been established through both physical evidence and scientific theory that the human species originated on the African continent, where the earliest of our ancestors spent the better part of three million years before showing any signs of spreading into Europe and elsewhere. Within a relatively short time after this, at about 100,000 BC, we see two races of more advanced hominids starting to appear in Europe, one almost immediately after the other, where they lived side by side for ten thousand years. Although one of these races was far more advanced than the other, it has left absolutely no signs of any progression to this state. A question naturally arises as to where this evidence is, for surely it must still exist on cave walls and in the digs of ancient human settlements where this race had lived before. Although scientists seem to have ‘proved’ through a trail of fossils and other artifacts that this latter race originated in Africa, it has yet to be found where their incredible artistry originated, for there are no signs of it anywhere else but in Europe, fully-developed and immaculate in its conception.

Could the scientific theories of our origins, presented to the public body as fact, be a distorted corruption of a truer reality? Has the archeological evidence, as it arises, been fit into a false tapestry that suits those in power to have us believe an adulterated conception of ourselves, while they alone retain the truer understanding? Who would have the ability to do this, and what purpose would it serve?

In order to arrive at a clear answer, certain other clues should first be considered, and the best of these that we might look at are those things that have been ignored or ridiculed by the scientific establishment, since those are the things that so often seem to offer an element of truth in spite of the forced suppression of their proper consideration.

[1] The dates given in this chapter are variable, depending on sources.

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