Adam Where Are You?

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 08 Jun 1996 17:37:54

I received my first Perspectives yesterday and was interested to see the
article on Adam. Here are some comments.

This is a review of the article "Adam, Where are You? Changing Paradigms
in Paleoanthropology" by David Wilcox in Perspectives on Science and
Christian Faith, 48:2, June 1996, pp 88-96

As I read the article, I began to worry that no care was taken either
on the part of the author or the referees to ensure that the data was up
to date. I count 80 citations. Averaging the dates of those citations
showed that the information upon which the article was based is from 1987.
There are 3 articles from 1994, 6 articles from 1995 and 71 articles from
1990 or older. This is great evidence of not having kept up with the
recent advances in the field. This shows in many of the statements made.

Some of the outdated statements:

The article begins with the statement "Paleoanthropology, the study
of human fossils, is in a state of crisis." The reference supporting this
statement was to an 8 year old article which discusses the Out-of-Africa
view vs the Multiregional Model of human origins. The article is mundane
attack on the Multiregional Model which says that modern mankind arose all
over the world at the same time. I re-reada the article this morning and I
was unable to find the word "crisis" anywhere. Nor could I find any
synonyms to the word "crisis". The authors certainly do not give any
indications that paleoanthropology is in trouble. They simply attack the
multiregional model. Paleoanthropology is not in a state of crisis and
really never was. How Wilcox could possibly construe this article as
indicative of a crisis is beyond me.

Wilcox says Trinkaus believes that Neanderthal man had "...questionable
phonetic ability, more rapid growth and maturation of the brain, teeth and
extremities." Wilcox p. 89

The idea that Neanderthal could not talk fast was based on the work of
Phillip Lieberman and associates, who suggested that the Neanderthal
larynx was not positioned correctly to allow rapid vowel production
thereby slowing the speech efficiency of the Neanderthal. This was
disproven by the 1990 discovery of a Neanderthal skeleton which had a
hyoid bone (Adam's apple) preserved. The authors state,

"They appear to be as 'anatomically capable' of speech as modern humans
when hyoid positioning and supralaryngeal space are the criteria
considered. The hyoid bone from Kebara is a 'singular' discovery, yet the
evidence for marked similarities of this bone to those of living peoples
cannot be easily dismissed; this research has demonstrated that it is a
component in a suite of morphological relationships that collectively
display a modern human configuration."~B. Arensburg et al, 1990. "A
Reappraisal of the Anatomical Basis for Speech in Middle Palaeolithic
Hominids,"American Journal of Physical Anthropology 83:137-146, p. 145

Since this was the first hyoid bone of Neanderthal ever discovered, it
seems that at least a mention of it should have been made when Wilcox
mentions the supposed lack of Neanderthal "phonetic ability".

As to the rapid growth and brain maturation in Neanderthal, Wilcox is only
partly correct. Trinkaus (p.208-209) specifically says that it is humans,
not Neanderthals who have an accelerated brain growth. As to the more
rapid maturation, Trinkaus held a view that Neanderthals had an 11 to 12
month gestation period which meant that their maturation was more rapid
after birth. This theory of Trinkaus' has also been disproven. (see James
R. Shreeve, The Neanderthal Enigma, (New York: William Morrow and Co.,
1995), p. 187)

Wilcox does not understand the dating methods of thermoluminescence and
electron spin resonance. He writes:

"Recent thermoluminescence (TL) and electron spin resonance (ESR)
measurements, based on the ability of flint and tooth enamel to collect
and retain electrons until heated, close that gap." Wilcox p. 90

Neither of these methods date objects which "collect and retain
electrons". To do this would mean that the objects become more and more
electrically negative as time goes by. What the objects collect is
crystalline lattice damage. The electrons are misplaced from their normal
positions. (See Stringer and Gamble, In Search of the Neanderthals_, 1993,
p. 58-59)

Wilcox seems incredulous about the existence of anatomically modern humans
(AMH) prior to Neanderthals when he writes:

"On the other hand, TL dates the presumed 'ancestral' Neanderthal remains
at Kebara at 60,000 years ago. Thus, AMHs long preceded their supposed
Neanderthal 'ancestors' in the Levant." Wilcox p. 90

This is inconsistent with two facts. The first fact is that no one any
longer believes that modern humans evolved straight from Neanderthal.
There are some who believe that Neanderthal may have interbred with modern
humans, but no one believes that a Neanderthal population gave rise to the
first modern human population.

Secondly, Neanderthals did arise prior to the advent of anatomically
modern humans and, if this were the only consideration, they could have
been our ancestor by direct lineage. (I want to make clear again that no
one believes Neanderthals were the direct progenitors of all modern
people) At Ehringsdorf, Germany, an early Neanderthal is securely dated
at 230,000 years and at Pontnewydd Cave in England, a Neanderthal tooth
has been dated to 225,000 years. Thus, Neanderthals arise on earth prior
to modern man and had many thousands of years for intermixing to have
taken places.(See Stringer and Gamble, In Search of the Neanderthals_,
1993, p. 66-67)

Furthermore, Neanderthal could easily have left genes in us. Neanderthals
only lived in Europe. Neanderthals alone among fossil men developed a
bump on the back of their head called an occipital bun. Reach back and
feel the very back of your head just above the neck. If you feel a bump
back there, then you are of European descent for only Europeans among all
peoples have that bump. And interestingly, Neanderthals with their
occipital buns only lived in Europe! That bump is a reduced version of the
Neanderthal occipital bun. I have such a feature on the back of my head
and I bet many of you do to. This is evidence of interbreeding with

Wilcox states (p.90) that "The big-brained hominids of archaic morphology
were displaced by AMH rather than developing into them" Wilcox p. 90

Wilcox presents no evidence to support this assertion and I know of no
paleoanthropologist who believes that archaic Homo was "displaced" rather
than evolving into modern man. Wilcox also gives no reference. It is the
majority belief today that Neanderthals and modern humans split off of the
same line somewhere before 230,000 years ago.

The Mousterian culture, in the older views, was that culture associated
with Neanderthal man. Wilcox states (p. 92) that the Mousterian culture
arose around 100,000 years ago. This is flat wrong. Shreeve writes:

"The lowest levels of Vaufrey bear tools from the Acheulean period,
perhaps as old as 400,000 years. Above these lies one of the oldest
Mousterian levels ever found, dated now --by Schwarcz--at 250,000 years,
more than doubling the conventional notion of Mousterian time. The
deposits at Grotte 16, just a few steps farther along the ridge, overlap
at the bottom with the youngest ones at Vaufrey, about 60,000 years before
the present, then progress on through the various industries of the Upper
Paleolithic, into Neolithic times."~James R. Shreeve, The Neanderthal
Enigma, (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995), p. 139

Wilcox is wrong about the date that Neanderthal was replaced. Since 1987
new discoveries have shown that Neanderthal lived much more recently. The
last Neanderthal remains are from 28,000 years in southern Spain. Shreeve

"In 1990, Jean-Jacques Hublin introduced me to my first Neanderthal fossil
in a Parisian cafe. At the time, Hublin suspected that the mandible he
showed me from Zafarraya cave in southern Spain was around 30,000 years
old. This would make Zafarraya, rather than the Grotte du Renne, the
last known Neanderthal address. Recently, Hublin told me that he has a
new date for the Zafarraya specimen, which now seems to be around 28,000
years old. So their moment of extinction creeps even closer to the
present."~James R. Shreeve, The Neanderthal Enigma, (New York: William
Morrow and Co., 1995), p. 342.

Wilcox states,

"The only 'cultural' evidence we have of Homo erectus is the Acheulian
bifacial 'handaxe' industry which appeared suddenly and remained more or
less unchanged by time and location for a million years." Wilcox p. 91

This is not true either. Ochre has absolutely no known technological use
for stone age peoples except for body painting yet Homo habilis had ochre
with him more than 1.5 million years ago.(~D. Bruce Dickson, The Dawn of
Belief, (Tuscon: The University of Arizona Press, 1990), p. 42-44)

Body painting is culture and chimps don't engage in it.

Wilcox states:

"If culture means learning to make a specific sort of tool from another
individual then chimps have culture." Wilcox p. 91.

But if Wilcox had bothered to look at the modern data he would have known
that Homo erectus used his tools for purposes which chimps never think of.
The tools of Homo erectus show evidence of use for leatherwork and
woodwork (Kathy D. Schick and Nicholas Toth, Making Silent Stones Speak,
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), p. 271)

On page 93, Wilcox states that Kanzi, a pygmy chimp, makes stone tools.
This is highly misleading. The person who taught Kanzi, Kathy Schick

"Although Kanzi is still continuing to improve his tool-making
abilities, his present level of expertise is significantly below that seen
in the Oldowan hominids. His core forms are strikingly similar to the
natural eoliths produced by geological forces, which confused
prehistorians around the turn of the century. He still doesn't show the
understanding of flaking angles that Oldowan hominids had: Kanzi bashes
and crushes the edges of cores with his hammer stone rather than using
highly controlled and forceful blows that we can see in the early Stone
Age artifacts. Recently throwing has become his favorite
technique."~Kathy D. Schick and Nicholas Toth, Making Silent Stones Speak,
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), p. 139


"Moreover, Kanzi's progress so far as a tool maker suggests to us that
early Oldowan hominids may exhibit a much greater cognitive understanding
of the principles and mechanics of tool making than modern apes seem to be
able to develop. " Ibid.

The Oldowan hominids were hominids from around 2 million years ago. They
were better tool makers than Kanzi.

In denigrating the Neanderthals, Wilcox advocates using rapid
technological change as a measure of who is human. This is a flawed
approach. He writes

"In contrast, the Aurignacian evidence of the AMH CroMagnon people shows
rapid continuous change.
"The extended period of Neanderthal cultural stasis is not true of
any AMH population, including modern 'stone age' groups such as the native
people of Australia" Wilcox p. 92

This is simply incorrect. Gamble writes:

"Further blurring of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic cultural
transition comes from the association of the anatomically modern remains
of Skhul and Qafzeh with Middle Paleolithic tools, while at St. Cesaire in
southwest France the reverse happened. and a classic Neanderthal, now
dated to 36,000 B.P., has been excavated in a level containing the
earliest Upper Paleolithic industries in the region. Such seeming role
confusion, at least by standard archeological thinking, is not surprising
when we remember that the stone tools of the Pleistocene Australians show
that Homo sapiens sapiens was making what was essentially a Middle
Paleolithic stone toolkit when they first arrived."~Clive Gamble,
Timewalkers, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 162

Thus the Australians, who are fully modern humans, have been in a state of
"cultural stasis" since the Middle Paleolithic. Cultural stasis is not
the criteria by which the image of God can be measured for the Australians
are made in the image of God. A further elaboration on these Australians.
When reading this, consider that wooden objects do not preserve will in
the fossil record.

"In western Australia today there are aborigines who make very
crude-looking stone tools. But their wooden implements are very
elaborate, with fancy painting on bark, and beautiful spearthrowers and
shafts. They also have extremely complex social systems, cosmology, and
narrative traditions. If you were to dig up one of their sites a thousand
years from now, however, all you would see would be the clunky stone
tools. Does this mean those aborigines were technologically inferior?
Not at all. They were simply relying on perishable materials."~James R.
Shreeve, The Neanderthal Enigma, (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995),
p. 249

Based on their stone tools, which is all that will be left in the
archaeological record, these guys don't seem inventive. Should we exclude
them from the human family as Wilcox's criteria seems to suggest?

Wilcox further writs:

"Mellars suggests that after modern humans arrived with their Aurignacian
tool-making techniques, the local Neanderthals picked up some of the
Aurignacian techniques and modified their Mousterian 'tool kit,' producing
the Chatelperronian industries....To Mellars, this suggests an
acculturation phenomenon, which implies Neanderthals were capable
imitators (like AMH) but no creative inventors (unlike AMH)."

If as Gamble says, the Neanderthal was making the earliest Upper
Paleolithic tools in the St. Cesaire region, who is the inventive one? Who
is advancing the local culture? Who is NOT in cultural stasis?

Wilcox states:

"The evidence for artistic or religious expression among the
Neanderthals is almost nonexistent. There is debate over whether (and for
what reasons) they may have occasionally buried their dead, over whether
they used ochre as paint, and over their hunting methods... However, there
is no evidence of art, no ornaments, no symbolism, no indication of
graving tools or sewing." Wilcox p. 92

This is incorrect and has been known to be incorrect since long before
1987, the average age of Wilcox's references. It is true that there is
little artistic activity on the part of Neanderthals but to say no
evidence of art is wrong. (For a reason that will become obvious at the
end of this review, I wish I didn't have to use this reference) Barnouw
writes (Notice the date of this article):

"From Neanderthal sites have come pendants made a reindeer phalanx and a
fox canine; a bovid shoulder blade covered with fine parallel lines; and a
carved mammoth molar, dated by radiocarbon at around 50,000 B. C. The
latter piece, which is quite beautiful shows skilled workmanship. It is
reproduced in color in Marshack 1976:143. "~Victor Barnouw, An
Introduction to Anthropology: Physical Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol.
1, (Homewood, Illinois: The Dorsey Press, 1982) p. 156

The fully modern Azilians who lived between 12,000 BC and 10,000 BC also
engaged in almost no art. So lack of art is a poor criterion for the image
of God.

As to sewing, anatomically modern humans did not invent the sewing needle
until 19,000 years BP, more than 100,000 years after they first appeared
on the planet! So why does Wilcox think that sewing is an important part
of being human? Earlier anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals
simply did not have the technology with which to make a sewing needle. No
needle, no sewing.

Wilcox states:

"The only indications of 'religious' thought are a few possible burial
sites, the significance of which are much debated." Wilcox p. 93

Lack of burial sites is no assurance that there is no spiritual life.
Many modern day primitive peoples let the old geezers lay where they died
and move away from the body. In other words they let the body rot on the
ground and do not bury it. Bruce Dickson states:

"Seventh, the scale and elaboration of the mortuary practices among
food collectors is determined by the degree of their sedentism, the nature
of their seasonal schedule, and whether or not they practice a
delayed-return form of subsistence. Coon provides a brief overview of the
numerous ways developed by hunting and gathering peoples for disposing of
their dead. These methods include simple exposure or abandonment, the
insertion of the corpse into natural caves, crevasses, or hollow trees,
cremation, and burial, either directly in the earth or under rock slabs.
Coon notes that 'however hunting and gathering peoples dispose of bodies,
they usually do so individually in separate places, for graveyards are an
artifact of sedentary life'. In the terms adopted here, Coon is speaking
largely of the mortuary practices of pedestrian foragers."~D. Bruce
Dickson, The Dawn of Belief, (Tuscon: The University of Arizona Press,
1990), p. 195

Lack of burials does not mean humanity at all. And I would disagree with
Wilcox. Burials do imply humanity and the grieving process. and there is
plenty of evidence for burials among the Neanderthals.

Wilcox concludes without ever having proven,

"Both cultural and physical evidence suggests an abrupt establishment of
the image about 100,000 years ago." Wilcox p. 94

If Wilcox would have read more of the literature in the past 6 years he
would have found different views. There is no difference between what
modern humans did for 65,000 years after they arose and what Neanderthal
man did. Without a difference, how can we be sure that the image of God
was established 100,000 years ago? Shreeve writes:

"According to the 'Out of Africa' hypothesis, these earliest modern
humans eventually spread out to take over the territory of all other
existing hominids. But, so far at least, there is no sign that these
hyper-successful moderns were making fancy tools, painting caves, or
otherwise doing 'modern' things. Modern behavior can no longer explain
modern human form, because by all appearances modern culture didn't even
exist for another 60,000 years. Suddenly, the emergence of anatomy and
culture have become delaminated in time. You might as well try to account
for the origin of the wind by talking about sailboats."~James R. Shreeve,
The Neanderthal Enigma, (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995), p. 11.

(Also look at the Gamble quote above.)

Unfortunately, this article is an example of people believing and
publishing what they WANT to believe not what the actual data says. This
type of Christian scholarship should not be encouraged! If I were to
publish something in an area of my professional expertise (salt movement
through sediments) and I used articles from 6 years ago and older as
Wilcox did, I would be laughed out of my industry because all the ideas
have changed. Surely Christian scholarship can use more recent sources!

To be fair I will apply the same test to this letter that I applied to
Wilcox's article. The average age of the articles I cited is 1992 if you
include the reference of Barnouw (1982). The average is 1993 if you
remove that reference which was used for historical information only.

Foundation,Fall and Flood