Re: Dating Adam

Glenn Morton (
Wed, 01 May 1996 19:39:10

>I propose a simple test for dating the biblical Adam:
> When do we find the first evidence for clothing?
>I asked Don Johanson this question once; he of course didn't see the
>relevance of it. He placed it at a far more recent date than the
>fossils he works with. Perhaps Neantertal, along with the advent of

This is an excellent question but it is not definitive of humanity.
During the Ages of Discovery, there were lots of naked homo sapiens in the
jungles of the world. However, to answer your question, is also somewhat
difficult. Cloth, skins and grass skirts do not preserve in the fossil
record. We are very unlikely to find the earliest examples of this type
of clothing. But the evidence of clothing is quite old.

The earliest extant cloth:

"Several radiocarbon dates obtained from artifacts found near the
cloth place it around 9,000 years old. Previously, the oldest
examples of prehistoric cloth - ranging from 8,000 to 8,500
years old - came from another Turkish site and an Israeli
cave."~Science News, Vol. 144, p. 54

The earliest extant twisted fibers:

"Investigators excavated three residential structures, a waste dump,
hearths, flint tools, animal bones, and one grave containing the skeleton
of an adult male. While sorting through charcoal remains, researchers
found the charred, twisted fibers. Identification of the type of plant
from which the 19,000-year-old fibers came is not possible, Nadel and his
coworkers say. But similar plant species growing near the Sea of Galilee
today do not naturally form twisted fibers, they write in the
August-October Current Anthropology.
"The oldest previous evidence of cord made from plant fibers, dating
to approximately 17,000 years ago, comes from France's Lascaux
Cave."~"Strands of the Stone Age" Science News, Oct. 8, 1994, p. 235

The earliest evidence of woven cloth comes at the time of the earliest

"Four prehistoric pottery fragments found in Eastern Europe bear imprints
that have made a big impression on archaeologists. The clay shards
display the outlines of the world's oldest known examples of woven
material, pressed into the clay while it was still wet, around 27,000
years ago." B. Bowers, "Stone Age Fabric Leaves Swatch Marks," Science
News, 147:276, May 6, 1995, p. 276

The oldest evidence of full clothing:

"The configuration of soil discoloration and of strings of beads
surrounding, girdling and paralleling the skeletons of people
buried 23 000 - 22 000 years ago at the Upper Palaeolithic site
of Sungir', 210 kilometers north-east of Moscow, even suggest
details of such clothing, consisting of a leather cap, a shirt, a
jacket, trousers and moccasins. The superabundant beads and
other objects found with the skeletons were apparently sewn on
the clothing as decorations or fasteners."~Richard Klein, "Later
Pleistocene hunters," in Andrew Sherratt, editor, The Cambridge
Encyclopedia of Archaeology, (New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1980), p. 90

Before this time, we have indirect evidence for clothing. This evidence
is of two forms: the spread of Homo erectus the other micro-wear patterns
on bone and stone tools.

The spread of Homo erectus

Since Homo erectus was the first hominid to conquor the temperate regions
many believe that they had to have clothing to survive the winters.
The settlement of Europe by Homo erectus took place 780,000 years ago.
(see Josep M. Pares and Alfredo Perez-Gonzalez, "Paleomagnetic Age for
Hominid Fossils at Atapureca Archaeological Site, Spain," Nature, Science
269, August 11, 1995, p. 830)

An even earlier find of Homo erectus is now dated at 1.6 million years old
from Georgia, in eastern Europe. (see Chris Stringer and Clive Gamble, In
Search of the Neanderthals, (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1993), p. 64)

Brian Fagan writes:

"For Homo erectus to be able to adapt to the more temperate climate of
Europe and Asia, it was necessary not only to tame fire but to have both
effective shelter and clothing to protect against heat loss. Homo erectus
probably survived the winters by maintaining permanent fires, and by
storing dried meat and other foods for use in the lean months."~Brian M.
Fagan, The Journey From Eden, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1990), p. 76

Microwear evidence for clothing

The earliest clothing for which we can hope to have evidence is that made
from animal hides. Stone and bone tools show evidence of having been used
in association with animal hides.

"But in the very remote Stone Age past, our primary evidence for hide
working comes from Lower Paleolithic sites in Europe, the earliest about
three hundred thousand years ago, where stone artifact edges show the
telltale microscopic wear pattern of highly rounded, rough, and pitted
edges with scratches perpendicular to the tool edge, indicating a scraping
motion. "Kathy D. Schick and Nicholas Toth, Making Silent
Stones Speak, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), p.162

"Some of the fossil bones looked so worn at the tip that they must
have been used for several days. Bob began to wonder if the hominids
carried these digging sticks with them. Then he noticed that the wear
scratches on some specimens were obscured by a glassy polish. A similar
sort of polish occurs on modern bone tools used by huntergatherers to
burnish hides. Bob speculates that the hominids may have made hide bags
to carry tools and tubers, and the glassy polish formed as the bones
rubbed against the leather. A few tiny, awl-like pieces of bone---the
sort of tools that could be used to puncture leather--- were also
uncovered at Swartkrans."~Donald C. Johanson, Lenora Johanson, and
Blake Edgar, Ancestors, (New York: Villard Books, 1994), p. 163-165

Thus, the first evidence of clothing material is 1.5 million years ago.

Once again, I ask. Where in all of this do we place Adam? And IF Adam is
that far back, then the harmonization I am offering should not be

Foundation,Fall and Flood