They Weren’t So Stupid, After All

Oldest art ever? Zigzags on a clam shell are more than 400,000 ...

The scientific world got a shock recently when archaeologists discovered cave art that could only have been made by Neanderthal people. Although their brains were actually a little larger than our own, it was Settled Science that Neanderthals were “primitive.”

But that’s nothing!

Now they’ve got art that was produced by Homo erectus–known as the “Java ape-man” when I was a boy–and it’s knocked a lot of settled theories for a loop (

What we’ve got is fossil clam shells with abstract designs carved on them, dated to 540,000 to 430,000 years ago. Young Earthers, stay with me: there is not supposed to be any such thing as Homo erectus art, no matter what the age.

So… what was Homo erectus? An ape-man? A missing link? Here’s a skeleton:

Turkana Boy skeleton - Stock Image - C014/7421 - Science Photo Library

This was once a 12-year-old boy in East Africa, now known as “the Lake Turkana boy.” In life he would’ve been on his way to six feet tall–no stooped, crouching ape-man here. From the neck down, only an expert can tell that this is not a modern human skeleton. But the head is shaped differently from ours.

Were these people, or something else? It wasn’t so long ago that Western scientists were debating whether modern Africans were people. It’s like, they’ve gotta look like us or they’re not human. You could find a carved ivory chess set clutched in the skeleton hands of a deceased Homo erectus, and some still wouldn’t accept him as human.

As for, “Well, Homo erectus simply Evolved into more modern forms of pre-humans, until finally the real human threshold was reached”–fap! There were erectus men and women living at the same time as “modern” humans and really “primitive” characters like little-bitty Homo habilis.

So now we’ve got erectus art. Never mind the dating: it makes certain persons uncomfortable.

But I think it’s cool!

5 comments on “They Weren’t So Stupid, After All

  1. I am so glad I have been grace to believe the Bible is the errant Word of God. God says the first man was Adam, and he was intelligent (and also susceptible to his wife’s wiles 🙂 ).

  2. The more I learn about these ancient findings, the more obvious it is that they were simply early humans, every bit as smart as we are. I recently heard that they have found Neanderthal graves which had traces of pollen in them, indicating that they used flowers in their burial ceremonies, just like people do today.

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