Re: Origins:Music of the Ages

Glenn Morton (
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 20:50:41

>I agree that anatomically modern humans appear in the fossil
>record as early as 100,000 years ago. Also, there are indications
>of art in Europe predating the Middle to Upper Paleolithic
>transition. I agree with Randall White's comments that the
>transition ought to be explained in terms of cultural evolution.
>However, from what I see in the literature, the emphasis seems
>to be on anatomically modern humans as the purveyors of cultural
>change, rather than the Neanderthals.
>Certainly, Neanderthals could have produced art in open sites -
>so their products were not preserved. In terms of stone tools,
>their tenure in Europe was not marked by tool innovation on the
>scale seen during the Upper Paleolithic.

Let me point out that the same thing can be said of the Upper Paleolithic
peoples. Their tenure was not marked by tool innovation on the scale seen
during today's scientific revolution! Does that mean they were not human?
No. Speed of technological change is not necessarily a diagnostic feature of
humanity. God didn't say to Adam and Eve, "Be inventive and fill the

Also, anatomically
>modern humans did not seem innovate during the period of 100,000 to
>50,000 years ago. During this time, human and Neanderthal tools
>were indistinguishable. But anatomically modern humans did
>start changing, enough that the idea that something important
>happened is attractive. Anthropologist have debated whether this period saw
>the origin of language. A slew of articles were written on the
>importance of this transition in conjunction with an exhibition
>of Paleolithic art in New York or DC in 1986.

That was before the time that a Neanderthal hyoid bone was found. The popular
theory of that time was that Neanderthals vocal tract was not human like and
he could not produce the sounds of several vowels. But even those who said
that, never said Neanderthals had NO language. Most anthropologists believe
that even Homo erectus had language because certain features in the brain are
found. (see Falk "Comments", Current Anthropology 30:2, April 1989, p. 141)

>On another note, I don't get the impression when reading recent books by
>archaeologists that the Neanderthals are the ancestors of anatomically
>modern humans. Excavations in Isreal suggest coexistence between 100,000
> and 40,000 years ago. How does this fit into your picture?

You are correct that most anthropologists believe in the replacement theory.
I tend to believe that there is good evidence of some interbreeding. Not a
lot but some (see the quote in the other post tonight.)

>Finally, could you tell me about the out of date view I'm using when I
>say that the Gen 1:28, where God blesses humans, resembles the cultural
>transitions such as the Upper Paleolithic in Europe? It seems like
>an aesthetically pleasing correlation to me.

Considering that Homo habilis, 2.4 million years ago, was the first skull who
showed evidence of having Broca's area, which controls speech, I would say
that it may be an aestetically pleasing or comforting correlation to you, but
the fossil evidence for language is much, much older than that.

My main gripe about those in the Christian apologetical business is that they
do not put out the hard work to keep up with the fields they purport to study
and thus they teach Christians things that are out of date and wrong. We
should do better than that. Remember James 3:1.

Foundation,Fall and Flood